State Briefs 12/11/09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Brothers arrested for taking guns to school

ROCKFORD — Just hours after a 16-year-old Auburn High School student wearing a bulletproof vest was arrested with a loaded gun at school, his brother, a student at Auburn’s Freshmen Campus, was arrested Friday after he was found to be carrying a loaded gun as well.

Auburn High School was locked down after the first student was found with a gun, parents were told by a phone recording Friday morning. Another student saw the 16-year-old’s vest and reported it to an administrator. The 16-year-old was wearing the loaded .32-caliber automatic pistol in his waistband.

Police checked school records to locate relatives of the 16-year-old when they came across the younger student’s name.

The high school was taken off lockdown status after about 45 minutes; the freshmen campus was not placed on lockdown.

School officials said today that the two arrests are isolated incidents.

The first student was arrested by police about 11 a.m. on Friday and school officials said no other students were in danger.

Rockford Register Star

Man sentenced to 14 years on molestation charges

PEKIN – A Washington man who used a game to molest young children was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday in Tazewell County’s 10th Judicial Circuit Court.

Scott L. Mattingly, 34, of Washington, was charged July 31 with four counts of sexual exploitation of a child, a Class 4 felony; two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony; and one count of indecent solicitation of a child, a Class 3 felony.

He was given credit for one day previously served in the Tazewell County Justice Center. According to court records, a 9-year-old girl came home from Mattingly’s residence and told her mother about a game of truth or dare with Mattingly and a 10-year-old that involved the children and Mattingly removing their clothes. The mother reported the incident to the Washington Police Department.

In an interview with the Tazewell County Children’s Advocacy Center, the child told a forensic interviewer that she was at Mattingly’s home on two occasions when game was played — once with two girls and once with three. According to court records, the games involved touching between the defendant and the girls.

Pekin Daily Times

Preteen sentenced to probation for attempted robbery

PEORIA – A 12-year-old boy was sentenced to three years of probation for attempting to rob at gunpoint a woman at a bus stop with her three small children.

The boy, who pleaded last week to attempted aggravated robbery, also was sentenced to 30 days at the Peoria County Juvenile Detention Center. He received an identical sentence on the charge of aggravated battery for attacking another boy at his school earlier this year.

He was ineligible for juvenile prison as he's younger than 13, and 30 days is the maximum time a child can be sentenced to the detention center.

Assistant State's Attorney Ken Wilhelm successfully argued the two sentences should be consecutive, meaning that with about two weeks already served, the boy has 46 days left. However, the judge stayed 15 days of one sentence until March to see how the youth is doing on probation. If he's doing well, then those extra days won't be served.

Another boy, 11, also pleaded guilty last week. That boy will be sentenced Jan. 15, said his attorney, Chandra Justice.

The woman had just walked across the street from the Kroger store on Wisconsin with her children, ages 1, 3 and 5, and was standing at a bus stop at Wisconsin and Arcadia avenues Nov. 27 when she was approached by three boys, according to police.

The 11-year-old - whose age has been mistakenly reported as 10 in previous stories - demanded money from the woman, but she told him she didn't have any. The boy lifted his T-shirt and revealed what appeared to be a handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants, she told police.

The woman said she reached into her pocket for a cell phone and began walking away from the bus stop with her children. She then called police, who later arrested the boys. The gun, which was hidden by the 12-year-old, was later determined to be a toy.

Two other boys, ages 11 and 12, were released by authorities after it was determined their roles were minimal.

Peoria Journal Star

Homeless man gets 60 years for killing 18-year-old woman

PEORIA – Calling him a brutal killer, a judge sentenced a 22-year-old homeless man Friday to 60 years in prison — the maximum — for strangling and stabbing an 18-year-old woman and then leaving her body to be found near Sterling Middle School last year.

Peoria County Circuit Judge Michael Brandt said Ernest Coffey’s actions on July 29, 2008, were indicative of “extreme rage and violence.” While acknowledging Coffey had a tough childhood, he was placed in a foster home when he was 6-months-old, and suffered from mental health issues, the public at large needed to be protected from him.

Coffey, who had maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings, repeatedly told Brandt he didn’t deserve prison because the evidence wasn’t there. Rather, he said, he had no reason to kill Jessica Wesson, 18, that night.

However, Brandt refused to reconsider the guilty verdict he handed down during a two-day bench trial in October. Rather, he said, the evidence was “overwhelming.”

Wesson was strangled, repeatedly stabbed, kicked and thrown up against a wall behind the middle school. Her body was found early that morning by a District 150 employee.

Peoria Journal Star