State Briefs 10/27/08
Man who drew attention for planned Disney trip sentenced for sexually assaulting child
BELVIDERE — A Boone County jury found Frank Atherton guilty Monday of two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.
The charges against Atherton, 48, stem from incidents that occurred between September and November 2002, while he was baby-sitting a 5-year-old child, said Assistant State’s Attorney Lise Lombardo, who prosecuted the case.
Atherton’s case made national headlines in March 2007 when he had planned a trip to Disney World as part of a family vacation while he was awaiting trial.
Judge R. Craig Sahlstrom said at the time that he had authorized Atherton’s trip to Florida, but was unaware of the man’s plans to visit Disney World. The judge later ordered Atherton to stay away from the popular family vacation spot, as one of Atherton’s bond stipulations required him to stay away from children. Sahlstrom then removed himself from the case.
Atherton faces 12 to 60 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19.
Rockford Register Star
More than a dozen arrested for trespassing
OREGON — Ogle County sheriff’s deputies arrested more than a dozen teens and young adults for criminal trespassing early Sunday morning in rural Rochelle.
Deputies were called at 1:37 a.m. Sunday to a wooded area on a trespassing complaint.
After a short investigation, deputies arrested 11 people 17 or older. Four juveniles — two 16-year-olds, one 15-year-old and a 14-year-old, all of the Rochelle area — also were arrested.
All were charged with criminal trespass to land and transported to the Ogle County Jail. An investigation is continuing, and further arrests are pending.
Rockford Register Star
Man whose 2004 convictions were thrown out convicted again
GALESBURG – A man who received a new trial after his 2004 convictions were thrown out was convicted of the same counts again Monday.
After deliberating for about four-and-a-half hours, a jury found Jerry Mabry guilty of all charges including attempted murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint.
Mabry was sentenced in 2004 to 22 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of the same charges. He was granted a new trial in December 2007 after a judge determined the jury acted improperly during deliberations by conducting Internet research and providing other jurors with printed copies.
The week-long trial was marked by often confusing and rambling questioning by Mabry, who acted as his own attorney for the second time. He attempted to convince the jury the victim lied about the night of the attack and that he loved her and acted in self-defense after she started attacking him.
Mabry will be sentenced Dec. 17.
Springfield airport adds additional flights to Chicago
SPRINGFIELD – AmericanEagle will start service between O’Hare International Airport and Springfield this weekend with an introductory one-way fare of $79 plus taxes, Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport announced Monday.
The airport’s other airline, United Express to O’Hare, has matched the AmericanEagle promotion.
American Airlines announced earlier this year it would drop the AmericanConnection route between Springfield and St. Louis effective this Sunday as the carrier continues to cut costs and consolidate routes. The twice-daily flights shift to AmericanEagle to Chicago.
The introductory fare is good for AmericanEagle tickets purchased between Nov. 2 and Dec. 10, and used by Feb. 2, said Andrea Tinervin, an administrative assistant for air service at the Springfield airport.