NEWS

State Briefs 12/15/09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Five students taken to hospital after ingesting prescription drugs

PEORIA – Five Metamora Township High School students were taken to an area hospital Monday afternoon for possible prescription drug abuse. They have since been released and are doing OK, Superintendent Ken Maurer said.

The Metamora students have been suspended, with the possibility of more serious measures after the investigation is complete, Maurer said.

Authorities found out about the problem about 1 p.m. Monday after an anonymous source notified the Woodford County Sheriff and others in authority about someone either selling or giving away the prescription pain medications, possibly Oxycontin, Vicodin or Tramadol, according to Maurer.

None of the students involved in Monday’s incident was exhibiting signs that would have been noticeable without the tip, Maurer said. However, the students were each sent for medical examination and treatment in case it was necessary.

Peoria Journal Star

Mushroom seizure largest in Illinois

EAST MOLINE – Police said the drug seizure of 40 pounds of mushrooms Dec. 7 on Interstate 80 in Henry County was the largest ever of its kind in the state.

Matthew J. Duboise, 26, of Springfield, Mass., was driving a motor home when he was stopped for speeding on eastbound I-80 two miles east of Geneseo, the Illinois State Police said Monday in a news release.

During a probable cause search, 40 pounds of psilocybin (mushrooms), were found, police said. It was the largest psilocybin arrest to date in Illinois.

Duboise is charged with controlled substance trafficking and manufacture and delivery of 200 or more grams of a controlled substance. He also is charged with possession of 200 or more grams of a controlled substance. He is in the Henry County Jail in Cambridge on $1 million bond.

Peoria Journal Star

Jail escapee sentenced to more than 17 years for breaking child’s arm

PEORIA – One of the two men who broke out of the Peoria County Jail last month was sentenced Monday to 17 1/2 years in prison for breaking a child's arm last spring.

Aaron M. Cook, 28, pleaded guilty in Peoria County Circuit Court to one count of aggravated battery of a child, a felony that carries a 30-year maximum sentence. As part of the plea deal with prosecutors, two petitions to revoke his probation on two older cases of obstructing justice and theft were dropped.

Cook will return to court Friday, when he could enter a plea on the escape charge relating to the jailbreak. That carries a possible seven-year term that would be served consecutively with the current prison sentence. He also has pending charges in Woodford and Tazewell counties for driving on a revoked license and theft.

Peoria Journal Star

Man sentenced to 18 years for trying to rob store with toy gun

PEORIA – A South Peoria man who was caught in April trying to rob a convenience store with a toy "pirate gun" was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison.

Montel D. Shorty, 24, pleaded guilty in Peoria County Circuit Court to two counts of aggravated robbery for March 31 and April 6 heists as his cases were scheduled to go before a jury.

He was one of three people who held up the South Metro Market on April 6. Ernest L. King, 18, and Tyesha Roberson, 23, both of Peoria, are scheduled to appear in court later this week in connection with the robbery. They could plead guilty to similar charges.

But it was Shorty who was tackled by a Metro Market clerk after they got a good look at the gun, which resembles a toy flintlock pistol, complete with an all-wooden handle. At his bond hearing back in April, a prosecutor said Shorty believed the weapon was real.

Authorities believe Roberson was the getaway driver. King allegedly went into the store with Shorty and was to grab the loot while Shorty held the toy gun on the clerks, said Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Manderscheid.

The March 31 heist allegedly involved Shorty and King. Police say Shorty was armed with the toy gun and King had a real handgun as they held up a convenience store, making off with money, cigarettes and some liquor.

Peoria Journal Star

Part-time clown, Santa Claus sentenced on child porn charges

SPRINGFIELD – A 50-year-old Springfield man who worked part-time as a clown and as Santa Claus has been sentenced to eight years and four months in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography.

U.S. District Judge Jeanne Scott also sentenced August R. Billek to a lifetime of supervised release when his prison term is completed.

Billek pleaded guilty on Aug. 13 to receiving child pornography from Feb. 19, 2008, to Dec. 28, 2008, and from Feb. 5, 2009, to May 5, 2009. He pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on May 18.

He also agreed to forfeit to the government his computer and related equipment.

According to court documents, a law enforcement officer in January identified a computer offering to participate in distribution of what appeared to be child pornography via a peer-to-peer network. The officer browsed the computer, later identified as Billek’s, and identified movie files depicting children engaged in various sexual activities, some with adults.

At the time of his arrest on May 18, Billek worked part-time as “Downtown the Clown” and as Santa Claus during the Christmas season.

State Journal-Register

Man tries to steal lamb from store

SPRINGFIELD – Someone attempted to steal about $100 worth of lamb from a Springfield Schnucks Sunday night.

About 8 p.m., employees noticed a man in the store who picked up three items of packaged meat — a rack of lamb, a lamb shank and a lamb leg — and attempted to conceal the items under his jacket. When one of the employees approached the man, he fled and jumped into a dark-colored automobile.

The meat was recovered.

State Journal-Register

Inmate killed in hostage situation

PINCKNEYVILLE -- A 37-year-old inmate at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center who had held a 62-year-old prison librarian hostage for nearly seven hours was shot and killed Monday afternoon, ending the standoff.

Perry County Coroner Paul Searby pronounced the as-of-yet unidentified inmate from Cook County dead at 5:03 p.m.

An autopsy and inquest are both pending.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith said the man was serving a sentence for aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping.

The librarian was taken hostage in the prison library at approximately 10:30 a.m. The woman was examined by medical personnel at the prison after her rescue, and was later taken to the Pinckneyville Community Hospital for a more thorough examination by physicians.

Du Quoin Evening Call