State Briefs 11/02/09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Woman accused of using power of attorney to rip off elderly man

PEKIN – A South Pekin woman was arrested Friday for allegedly bilking an elderly man out of cars, loans and his pension money.

Gina Y. Robinson, 38, South Pekin, was arrested for financial exploitation of the elderly, forgery and altering titles, according to Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Sanders.

In August the son of an 83-year-old Pekin man called police saying he feared his elderly father had been the victim of forgery by the father’s power of attorney, Robinson. The power of attorney was revoked in September and the son appointed to the position. The victim owned several properties in Pekin and one of the properties had been foreclosed on in May. The elderly man had been renting the house to Robinson, said Sanders.

The son noticed that his father never seemed to have any money and that Robinson, who had convinced the victim in March to make her his power of attorney, was always writing checks on his father’s account. The son also learned that two antique vehicles owned by his father had been sold on eBay — a 1936 Ford Tudor and a 1976 Mercury Marquis, said Sanders.

During the investigation, police learned that Robinson had also convinced the victim to make her his beneficiary at the time of his death. The victim told police he had been coerced by Robinson to take out loans on the homes he owned to help Robinson open a business, Gina’s Coffee House, which never opened, said Sanders.

Pekin Daily Times

Two dead, two hurt in Halloween party shooting

ROCKFORD – Two teens were killed and two others injured in a shooting at Halloween part early Sunday morning.

Deangelo Link, 16, and Nathan Melendez-Torrance, 19, were pronounced dead about 1:30 a.m., less than a half-hour after police arrived in response to shots being fired near the intersection of Kilburn and School Street.

A teenage girl and boy were treated for nonlife-threatening injuries suffered at the party where, police say, minors and adults celebrated the holiday.

Deputy Police Chief Greg Lindmark said at least two guns were involved and it isn’t known how many shots were fired. Lindmark said it’s too early to tell whether the shooting was gang-related and said police are trying to interview as many partygoers as they can find.

One of the stray bullets hit a neighbor’s house, entering through wood paneling in the master bedroom and landing in a second bedroom.

Rockford Register Star

Conviction overturned in 2007 shooting

PEORIA – A trio of appellate court justices has overturned a 2007 conviction of a South Peoria man who shot at a group of people gathered at Taft Homes, killing one person.

Charles Alexander, 27, was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison two years ago, in part, because of the error of his attorney, the judges at the 3rd District Appellate Court in Ottawa held.

In an unpublished order handed down on Sept. 30, judges Mary McDade and Vicki Wright wrote the attorney improperly allowed testimony regarding the death of Ronald Lewis, who was struck by a bullet on June 16, 2007. Prior to the trial, Chief Peoria County Judge Stuart Borden barred any testimony acknowledging Lewis died or even indicating the extent of his injuries.

Alexander wasn't charged with his death or even with shooting him. Rather, the charge, aggravated discharge of a firearm, accused him of shooting at the people, not with hitting someone.

While being questioned by defense attorney Gary Morris, a police detective stated he knew of Alexander because he was investigating Lewis' shooting death. Borden called for a conference outside the presence of the jury and the trial resumed. Two of the judges cited that as part of their decision.

No date has been scheduled for a hearing regarding when Alexander will next appear in Peoria County Circuit Court or when a new trial would begin.

Peoria Journal Star

Man dies after being caught in floodwater

MOUNT PULASKI –  A Mount Pulaski man died early Sunday morning after his car was found floating in floodwater.

Cecil McCain, 97, drowned after his car became stranded in the swollen Lake Fork waterway off 1225th Street, about a mile-and-a-half south of Illinois Route 54 near Mount Pulaski.

According to Dan Fulscher, director of Logan County Emergency Management Agency, officials received a 911 call around 11:30 p.m. Saturday of a man standing on top of his car waving for help.

The Cornland Fire Department responded with a dive team and boat and paramedics and located the vehicle floating in about 4 to 5 feet of standing water about 200 yards from the road, Fulscher said.

McCain was no longer standing on top of the car when rescuers arrived, but was found floating near his car. Paramedics pulled him from the water and tried to resuscitate him before transferring him in a helicopter to a Springfield hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Sangamon County Coroner Susan Boone ruled the official cause of death as drowning.

Lincoln Courier