State Briefs 10/06/08
Fight breaks out at wedding reception
ROCKFORD — Police officers reported to a wedding reception Saturday at the Venetian Club after party-goers had broken up a fight between the maid of honor and the best man's wife.
Jeniffer Furguson, 24, Roscoe, the maid of honor at her best friend's wedding, was trying on the best man's tie when Catherine Jacobson, 43, Machensey Park, the best man's wife, asked Furguson for the tie back.
Jacobson's request sparked a verbal altercation, but Furguson returned the tie that Jacobson said she owned.
After receiving the tie, Jacobson struck Ferguson in the face, sparking a fight in the Venetian Club parking lot, according to police reports.
No serious injuries resulted from the fight, but Furguson suffered a minor cut on her wrist.
Jacobson was arrested and jailed at the Winnebago County Justice Center in lieu of bond.
Rockford Register Star
Motorcyclist won’t face charges in death of son
PEORIA — An East Peoria motorcyclist jailed for the death of his 4-year-old son was released Monday afternoon after authorities decided not to charge him with a crime.
Michael Wells, 21, was released from the Peoria County Jail about 3 p.m. after prosecutors with the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Office said his actions did not show a “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of his son, Ashton Wells.
Prosecutors said they are still investigating the case and that Michael Wells may still face an insurance citation. By law, prosecutors have a three-year window to charge Michael Wells with a crime.
Family members said Wells was practicing motorcycle stunts Saturday at a North Peoria lumberyard when his son ran toward his father only to be struck by the moving bike.
Ashton Wells was taken to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m. Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said preliminary autopsy results today showed that the 4-year-old died from head, chest and abdominal injuries.
Journal Star, Peoria
Former Bloomington cop won’t get new trial
BLOOMINGTON — Jeff Pelo, the former Bloomington police sergeant sentenced to 440 years in prison for a series of brutal rapes, had his motions for a new trial denied Monday in McLean County court.
Defense attorney Michael Rosenblat argued Pelo should have been granted a new trial because of errors during instructions to the jury and an incorrect interpretation of sentencing guidelines.
McLean County Associate Judge Robert Freitag, however, disagreed with the assertions and denied the motion.
Rosenblat immediately filed his notice of an appeal to the Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa, but asked the judge to appoint a public defender to handle the appeal. Freitag granted that request.
Pelo was convicted in June of stalking and raping four women from 2002 through 2005 and stalking another woman from 2005 through 2006.
Journal Star, Peoria
Concrete flower planter in downtown Springfield broken
SPRINGFIELD – Police were trying to determine who broke one of the new large concrete flower planters in downtown Springfield Wednesday morning.
An anonymous person called police about 2:15 a.m. and said several men had just tipped over a flowerpot in the 400 block of East Monroe Street. The caller provided descriptions of the men and their red Chrysler, including a license plate that registered to Jacksonville.
Police tracked down the car and talked to the men, but they said the pot already was knocked over when they saw it. There were no other witnesses, so the men were not arrested.