State Briefs 1/17/08

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Lawyer: Text message proves Stacy Peterson having affair

BOLINGBROOK -- A two-sentence text message allegedly sent to Stacy Peterson more than a month before she went missing proves she was having an affair, her husband’s lawyer told media outlets this week.

The writer of the Sept. 20 message refers to Peterson as “my love” and thanks her for a sexual encounter they had the night before, according to reports in the Chicago Tribune.

The revelation seems to bolster Drew Peterson’s claim that his wife is not missing but simply left him for another man. Peterson, 54, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, has been named a suspect in his 23-year-old wife’s Oct. 28 disappearance, which investigators are treating as a possible homicide.

The message was found on Stacy Peterson’s cell phone, which she had recently replaced and given to her stepson. Drew Peterson turned the phone over to state police after finding the message, according to media reports.

Authorities reportedly obtained a search warrant Jan. 3 seeking information that might lead to the identity of the sender. The message was sent from a Sprint Nextel Web site, which allows users to send messages without logging in or opening an account.

Chicago Suburban

Boy dragged by school bus

ROCKFORD -- An 8-year-old whose arm got caught in a school bus door was dragged about 75 feet before the bus stopped, the boy's father said.

The incident occured on Prairie Road at Prairie Avenue, just outside Rockford city limits.

Isidro Carrillo said his son Fernando's arm got caught in the door of the school bus he was exiting, but the bus drove on and Fernando was dragged about 75 feet before the bus stopped.

Fernando said he was "fine."

Winnebago County sheriff's deputies were investigating the scene this afternoon.

Rockford Register Star

Eureka College sees 25 percent increase in December contributions

EUREKA -- Eureka College President J. David Arnold and his wife, Katherine, challenged donors last month, offering to make a personal donation for every charitable contribution the college received in December.

The donations rolled in, 362 to be exact, totaling more than $200,000 - a 25 percent increase in donors compared with the same period of time the previous year.

For the Arnolds, that meant penning a check to the college for $3,060. 

"It's a classic example of leading by example," Arnold said Wednesday. 

The Arnolds agreed to make an additional $5 to $20 donation for every donor who participated in the special fundraising effort. The larger the donation, the larger the match.

Arnold said the idea came about while he was sitting down to a stack of letters, each asking for donations, and while writing out checks thought he wanted to make the process "more personal" with Eureka College's request.

Journal Star, Peoria

Former detective loses arbitration case, city says

SPRINGFIELD -- Former Springfield Police detective Jim Graham has lost his arbitration case with the city of Springfield, Springfield Police Department spokesman Ray Serati confirmed Thursday.

Graham could appeal the arbitrator's ruling in Sangamon County Circuit Court, Serati said.

Ron Stone, the attorney for the union that represents Springfield officers, and Bob Davidsmeyer, the head of the police union, did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

Graham and former detective Paul Carpenter were fired by the city in October 2006 after a summary of an Illinois State Police report detailing misconduct allegations against the two and their supervisors was leaked to the media. Shortly after his firing, Carpenter was indicted on charges of official misconduct and wire fraud. His case has not yet gone to trial.

The city has never confirmed the two were fired, only that they are no longer on the payroll. City officials say the circumstances behind the departures of Graham and Carpenter are confidential personnel matters.

State Journal Register

Candidates won't take salary hike

OTTAWA -- Two candidates for LaSalle County Board chairman say if they're elected, they'll reject the $23,000 pay increase for the position the board approved last fall.

The board voted 13-12 to pay its first publicly elected chairman $53,000 a year. Current Chairman Jerry Hicks, a Democrat from Marseilles, is paid a $15,000 base salary plus about $15,000 in per diems a year.

"I think they increased the salary to spite the public," said board member Randy Freeman, a Lostant Republican. "They told the public if the chairman was elected by the people, it would cost them more money, which is nonsense. The position is part time and if I'm elected I'll give anything that exceeds $30,000 to charitable foundations in the community."

Chairman candidate Stephen Carlson, a Mendota Republican, is going even further.

"The current $30,000 a year compensation is still double-dipping. The chairman shouldn't get per diems," Carlson said. "If I'm elected I'm only accepting a $15,000 salary from the county for the position and using the rest of the money for the betterment of the community at my discretion."

Hicks is running unopposed in the Feb. 5 primary. Hicks and the third Republican candidate, Russell Boe of Ottawa, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Journal Star, Peoria

Report: Rockford man sues Motley Crue concert promoter

TAMPA BAY, Fla. -- According to the Tampa Bay Tribune, a Rockford man who claims to have been beaten up by a Motley Crue band member and security during a concert in Tampa Bay, Fla., is suing the promoter, Live Nation.

Gerald Schneeman was at an Aerosmith and Motley Crue concert Nov. 22, 2006, at the Ford Amphitheater, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday.

The lawsuit states that Schneeman was standing in front of the stage when he was struck in the head with a guitar by a member of Motley Crue who was not named.

The band member jumped from the stage and knocked Schneeman to the ground, according to the suit. Security assaulted Schneeman, then dragged him from the concert, according to the suit.

He suffered injuries, scarring and disfigurement, according to the suit. Details of his injuries were not listed.

Rockford Register Star

City launches 'Round Up' program to help the homeless

SPRINGFIELD -- City officials are encouraging residents to participate in City Water, Light and Power's Round Up program to help the homeless.

CWLP customers will see a sign-up form in their January bills. If someone signs up, his or her monthly CWLP bill will be rounded up to the nearest dollar amount. For example, if a bill is $37.37, it will be rounded up to $38, and $0.63 will be put into a fund to help the homeless.

An advisory committee appointed by the mayor will advise the city council how to use the money, Ward 5 Ald. Sam Cahnman said at a news conference today. Cahnman sponsored the ordinance creating the program.

The committee will review requests for grants from the fund, but the city council has final say on how the money is spent.

Mayor Tim Davlin said he will appoint the committee once he sees how much money the fund accumulates. Davlin said he believes the money should be distributed to the city's major social service agencies that help the homeless, including The Salvation Army, Helping Hands and Contact Ministries.

Brenda Johnson, executive director of Helping Hands, told reporters she wants to see any money go toward creating more beds in the existing shelters.

State Journal Register

Man accused of sexually assaulting girl

PEORIA -- Detectives arrested a 21-year-old South Peoria man who allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted a young girl as she walked to Trewyn Middle School on Wednesday morning.

Monterius Hinkle remained in the Peoria County Jail pending a bond hearing and faces a charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault.

The 16-year-old victim was walking to school when Hinkle approached her near West Garden Street and South Folkers Avenue, less than a quarter-mile north of the school, according to a news release from the Police Department.

There about 8:15 a.m., Hinkle reportedly started a brief conversation with her until the victim began walking away. As she tried to leave, Hinkle grabbed the girl and "forcibly walked" her to his home at 2805 W. Malone St., police stated.

Authorities allege Hinkle assaulted the teen. The victim was able to leave Hinkle's home and walk to a friend's house to report the attack to police. Whether she escaped or Hinkle allowed her to leave was not made public. Police did say the victim knew Hinkle only by a nickname and later identified him as her attacker.

The victim was treated for injuries at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

Several hours after learning of the assault, officers searched the home and found Hinkle hiding in his basement. He was arrested there without incident.

Hinkle was also arrested in August and booked on charges of criminal sexual assault and again in September for two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, but according to circuit clerk records he was never charged for either crime.

Journal Star, Peoria

Former principal acquitted of sex charges

PEORIA -- The former principal of Illini Bluffs Elementary School was acquitted Wednesday of charges he sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman at a drinking party last summer.

An exuberant John Walker patted his attorney's back after the verdicts were read. His family behind him cried softly with joy.

Across the aisle, the alleged victim's family sobbed, too, but for different reasons. The woman, now 21, was bent over, crying into her hands and occasionally banged on the courtroom's wooden benches.

After the jury left, Walker strode out of the second-floor courtroom and hugged a family member. The woman and her family waited inside the courtroom for several minutes so as not to be outside when Walker and his supporters were there.

The former school official was accused of taking advantage of the woman, who was drunk, while they were at a Lake Camelot house in mid-July. Prosecutors alleged he followed the woman into the house and had both oral sex and sexual intercourse with her. Walker denied the intercourse, though admitted to the oral sex, which he said was consensual.

There was no physical evidence, and as Walker's attorney, Kevin Sullivan, told jurors, it was a "she said, he said," and up to the panel of five woman and seven men to decide who was more credible.

The two counts allege Walker used force against the woman and also that she was too drunk to knowingly consent to sex with Walker, who is married.

Sullivan called his client's actions that night "poor judgment, inappropriate and possibly immoral, but not illegal."

Journal Star, Peoria

Student arrested for alleged attack

PEKIN -- Police arrested a Pekin junior high school student Monday after he swore at his teacher and attacked another student.

According to Detective Chris Bitner of the Pekin Police Department, a verbal argument began when a 13-year-old male dropped something in the hallway before class at Edison Junior High.

Bitner said another student - the one who would eventually get arrested - became annoyed with the student who bent over in the hallway.

Bitner said that the arrested student was specifically annoyed that the student was holding up foot traffic.

A verbal argument began between the two and carried into the classroom.

When the teacher heard the to-be-arrested student curse at the victim, the teacher sent the arrested student out of the classroom. The arrested student cursed at the teacher and walked directly up to the victimized student.

The teacher stepped between the arrested student and the victim in an effort to prevent a fight, Bitner said.

Regardless of the teacher's strategic position, the arrested student began punching the victim in the side of the head and face. Bitner said the arrested student was punching around the teacher.

Police were called and arrested the 13-year-old attacker for battery. Police ultimately released the boy to the custody of his mother, but not without a notice to appear for juvenile probation.

Pekin Daily Times