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Case updates from Randolph County court

  • Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker

    Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker

 
By Staff Report
Posted on 1/12/2017, 10:14 AM

• Tara J. Ostermeyer

On December 12, 26-year-old Tara J. Ostermeyer, of Steeleville, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (Class 3 felony) before Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Brown.

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, Ostermeyer was sentenced to a period of probation for two years (first offender status) and must complete alcohol/substance abuse counseling as directed by the probation department.

During the plea, Ostermeyer admitted to possessing less than 5 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine located in her purse during a traffic stop in Sparta on July 18, 2016.

"Ms. Ostermeyer had no previous felony convictions or drug offenses, which made her eligible for first offender probation," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "If Ms. Ostermeyer completes treatment, passes all drug tests while on probation and stays out of trouble for two years, she will not have a felony conviction entered against her."

The Sparta Police Department handled the investigation into this matter.

• Brett Tracy

On December 12, 2016, 31-year-old Brett Tracy, last known address Chester Mental Health Center, pleaded guilty to the offense of aggravated battery before Judge Richard A. Brown.

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, Tracy was sentenced to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

During the plea, Tracy admitted to striking an employee at the Chester Mental Health Center on May 19, 2014.

"Mr. Tracy had been unfit to stand trial since we initiated the case in 2014," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "However, recently the treatment staff within the Department of Human Services found the Defendant fit to stand trial and we resolved the case as quick as possible to avoid the Defendant decompensating and possibly becoming unfit again."

The Chester Police Department handled the investigation in this matter.

Kenneth L. Greene

On December 12, 2016, 28-year-old Kenneth L. Greene, of Chester, was sentenced by Associate Circuit Court Judge Gene Gross to a period of probation for 30 months, with conditions to be subject to random drug testing and alcohol/substance abuse counseling, following a sentencing hearing.

During the sentencing hearing, the State requested a term of imprisonment of three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The Defendant requested a term of probation. Greene was facing sentencing for a Class 4 felony offense of possession of controlled substance following his arrest in Chester on July 7, 2016. "Evidence at the sentencing hearing showed Mr. Greene was on supervised release (parole) from a previous commitment to the Department of Corrections when this offense was committed," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "I supposed I am "old school" but I just do not believe in rewarding someone with probation, while they are on parole."

The Chester Police Department handled the investigation in this matter, with assistance from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Michael W. Spence

On December 12, 2016, 64-year-old Michael W. Spence, of Tilden, was sentenced to two years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by Judge Gene Gross, following a sentencing hearing.

Spence had previously pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful failure to register as a sex offender (failing to report a change in address), occurring in Tilden in June 2016.

During the hearing, the State requested a two-year DOC sentence, while Spence argued for probation.

"These types of cases are usually treated in a progressive matter," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "This was the fourth time (three previous violations occurred in Madison County) Mr. Spence failed to register or comply with the Sex Offender Registration Act."

The Randolph County Sheriff"s Office handled the investigation in this matter.

• Celeste O. Brenning

On December 19, 2016, 21-year-old Celeste O. Brenning, of Marissa, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (Class 3 felony) before Judge Richard A. Brown.

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, Brenning was sentenced to a period of probation for two years (first offender status) and must complete alcohol/substance abuse counseling as directed by the probation department.

During the plea, Brenning admitted to possessing less than 5 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine located during a traffic stop in Tilden on August 3, 2016.

"This is another case where Ms. Brenning had no previous felony convictions or drug offenses, which made her eligible for first offender probation," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "Therefore, if she completes treatment, passes all drug tests while on probation and stays out of trouble for two years, she will not have a felony conviction entered against her."

The Randolph County Sheriff"s Department handled the investigation into this matter.

Rachel M. Rednour

On December 19, 2016, 30-year-old Rachel M. Rednour, of Coulterville, was sentenced by Judge Richard A. Brown to 180 days in the Randolph County Jail and two years of probation, with conditions to seek alcohol/substance abuse counseling and participate in a jobs training program, following a sentencing hearing.

Rednour had previously pleaded guilty to the offense of theft over $500 resulting from an incident occurring in rural Coulterville on August 20, 2016.

During the sentencing hearing, the State requested a term of five years in the Department of Corrections.

Rednour requested probation.

"This is another example of the tough conditions prosecutors across this State find themselves in," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "Judges are being told to not send non-violent offenders, even repeat offenders, to DOC.

"The pre-sentence report showed Ms. Rednour had previously served terms of probation, unsuccessfully, and had been sent to DOC before. A person with that history is not a candidate for probation, in my view."

The Randolph County Sheriff"s Office handled the investigation in this matter, with assistance from the Sparta Police Department.

• Christopher R. Compton

On December 21, 2016, 19-year-old Christopher R. Compton, of Cutler, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of battery (Class A misdemeanor) before Judge Gene Gross.

Compton was previously charged with two counts of aggravated Battery (spitting at a correctional officer and kicking a police officer).

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, Compton was fined $2,500 and convicted of the offense of battery.

The second count of aggravated battery was dismissed.

Compton admitted to spitting at the correctional officer on September 23, 2016 at the Randolph County Jail, but the language regarding the victim being a correctional officer was stricken to effectuate the plea.

"Mr. Compton had been pulled over on suspicion of DUI, and it is fair to say things went downhill from there," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "Mr. Compton became aggressive with the police officer effectuating the arrest and continued to be a problem at the jail following his arrest.

"Mr. Compton spent two days in jail and was also charged with, and pleaded guilty, to the offense of DUI."

The Steeleville Police Department handled the investigation in this matter.

Jacob W. Eisemann

On December 27, 2016, 27-year-old Jacob W. Eisemann, of Red Bud, pleaded guilty to the offense of aggravated fleeing and eluding a peace officer before Judge Richard A. Brown.

No agreement was reached as to the sentence and the matter has been set for sentencing on February 10 at 9 a.m.

The State did agree to dismiss a charge of unlawful possession of stolen vehicle and a charge of domestic battery.

"We had witness problems on both of the charges dismissed," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "The DOC sentence we desired on all of the charges is within the sentencing range on the charge as pleaded."

The Randolph County Sheriff"s Office handled the investigation in this matter.

Richelle D. Melvin

On December 27, 2016, 38-year-old Richelle D. Melvin, of Du Quoin, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (Class 3 felony) before the Honorable Richard A. Brown.

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, Melvin was sentenced to a period of probation for two years (first offender status) and must complete alcohol/substance abuse counseling as directed by the probation department.

During the plea, Melvin admitted to possessing less than 5 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine located during a traffic stop in Percy on July 9, 2016.

"Ms. Melvin had no previous felony convictions or drug offenses, which made her eligible for first offender probation," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker.

The Randolph County Sheriff"s Office, with assistance from the Chester Police Department, handled the investigation in this matter.

Kelsey R. Thomas

On December 28, 2016, 25-year-old Kelsey R. Thomas, of Chester, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (Class 3 felony) before the Judge Richard A. Brown.

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, Thomas was sentenced to a period of probation for two years (first offender status) and must complete alcohol/substance abuse counseling as directed by the probation department.

During the plea, Ms. Thomas admitted to possessing less than 5 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine located during a traffic stop in Chester on August 5, 2016.

"We have a lot of people getting caught with meth, which means to me there is a lot of meth in the county," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "We are doing our best to stop those selling, and help those using."

The Chester Police Department handled the investigation in this matter.

Aaron W. Kinstler

On December 28, 2016, 19-year-old Aaron W. Kinstler, of Sparta, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of controlled substance (Class 4 felony) before Judge Richard A. Brown.

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, Kinstler was sentenced to a period of probation for two years (first offender status) and must complete alcohol/substance abuse counseling as directed by the probation department.

During the plea, Kinstler admitted to possessing less than 15 grams of a substance Xanax (prescription medication) located during a traffic stop in Sparta on July 12, 2016.

The Sparta Police Department handled the investigation.

David C.A. Downey

On December 28, 2016, 23-year-old David C.A. Downey, of Chester, pleaded guilty to the offense of aggravated assault and was sentenced to two years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by Judge Richard A. Brown.

During the plea, Downy admitted to threatening a parole office with the Illinois Department of Corrections in Chester on August 5, 2016.

"Mr. Downey had been to DOC in the past and I felt a similar disposition was appropriate given that fact," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "Luckily no one was hurt, but it is still a serious situation when someone threatens any law enforcement official and we will vigorously prosecute such cases."

The Chester Police Department handled the investigation in this matter.

Jerry D. Pelate

On December 28, 2016, 18-year-old Jerry D. Pelate, of Percy, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections before Judge Richard A. Brown.

During the plea, Pelate admitted to possessing more than 5 grams, but less than 15 grams, of methamphetamine, with the intent to deliver, located during a traffic stop by a Randolph County Sheriff"s Deputy on October 15, 2016.

"Mr. Pelate is certainly young, but this was not a small amount of meth and he stated it was for sale," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "Given that set of facts, I do not believe in giving people who sell meth or controlled substances probation."

The Randolph County Sheriff"s Office handled the investigation in this matter.

• Travis L. Kisro

On December 28, 2016, 23-year-old Travis L. Kisro, no address given, pleaded guilty to the offense of failure to report change of address (sex offender registration) before Judge Richard A. Brown.

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, Kisro was sentenced to seven days in jail, fined $500 and placed on conditional discharge for a period of one year.

Kisro, during the plea, admitted to failing to advise the Randolph County Sheriff"s Office of a change in his address in violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act on November 29, 2016.

"Once people are required to register on the Sex Offender Registry, all we ask for is for them to comply with the rules,"said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "If they don"t, we usually start punishment out small and work up to more severe penalties."

The Randolph County Sheriff"s Office handled the investigation in this matter.

Michael J. Piechoinski

On December 29, 2016, 46-year-old Michael J. Piechoinski, of Nashville, pleaded guilty to the offense of burglary.

No agreement was reached as to the sentence and a sentencing hearing has been scheduled for February 6 at 1 p.m. before Judge Richard A. Brown.

During the plea, Piechoinski admitted to entering a building of another in Tilden on October 21, 2016 with the intent to commit therein a theft.

"I do not believe this to be Mr. Piechoinski"s first felony offense and will anticipate requesting a sentence to the Department of Corrections," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker.

The Tilden Police Department handled the investigation in this matter.

Jack N. Houston

On December 29, 2016, 29-year-old Jack N. Houston, of Red Bud, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle and was sentenced to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by Judge Richard A. Brown.

During the plea, Houston admitted to possessing a stolen vehicle in Sparta on November 3, 2016. "Mr. Houston has prior felonies, but had never been to corrections before this sentence," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "I hope the sentence imposed will deter Mr. Houston from being a problem when he gets out and wish him luck in the future."

The Sparta Police Department handled the investigation into this matter.

Cynthia L. Albert

On December 29, 2016, 46-year-old Cynthia A. Albert, 46 of Chester, pleaded guilty to the offense of Aggravated Battery before Judge Brown.

No agreement was reached as to the sentence and this matter has been set for a sentencing hearing on February 6 at 1 p.m.

The State did dismiss a lower classification of felony (theft) and a misdemeanor charge to facilitate the plea.

During the plea, Albert admitted to causing bodily harm to a minor under the age of 13 in Chester on September 14, 2016.

"Ms. Albert has prior convictions and has been placed on probation in the past," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "For those reasons, I anticipate requesting a commitment to the Department of Corrections on February 6."

The Chester Police Department handled the investigation in this matter.

Austin M. McCormick

On December 29, 2016, 23-year-old Austin M. McCormick, of Chester, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of methamphetamine before Judge Richard A. Brown.

Pursuant to the negotiated plea, McCormick was sentenced to a period of probation for two years (first offender status) and must complete alcohol/substance abuse counseling as directed by the probation department.

During the plea, McCormick admitted to possessing less than 5 grams of a methamphetamine located during an encounter with the Chester Police Department on September 19, 2016.

"You can see a lot of these first offender dispositions recently," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "I do hope these defendants successfully complete probation.

The Chester Police Department handled the investigation.

• Jason E. Dodson

On January 4, Jason E. Dodson pleaded guilty to the offense of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (Class 2 felony) before Judge Richard A. Brown.

No agreement was reached as to the sentence and the matter has been set for sentencing on February 10.

The State agreed to dismiss a charge of criminal sexual assault to facilitate the plea. During the plea, Dodson admitted to placing his finger in the vagina of a victim - whom was of age, at a time he knew the victim was unable to give knowing consent to the act, on September 10, 2016 while in Steeleville.

"The victim was onboard with the disposition," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "The charge Mr. Dodson pleaded to is substantially the same charge as the dismissed count, and certainly carries a possible prison sentence, which we will ask for."

The Steeleville Police Department handled the investigation in this matter.

Kayla M. Emling

On January 5, 2017, 21-year-old Kayla M. Emling, of Coulterville, pleaded guilty to the offense of theft over $500 and was sentenced to a period of probation for two years, with a condition to seek and obtain all alcohol, substance abuse and mental health counseling as directed by the probation department by Judge Gene Gross.

Emling, during the plea, admitted to stealing over $500 cash from Pistol City in Coulterville on May 11, 2016.

A charge of burglary was dismissed to facilitate the plea.

"Ms. Emling had no prior felony record prior to this disposition and will be on probation for two years," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "If she walks the line and stays out of trouble during this period, she will have an opportunity to remove the felony conviction imposed.

The Coulterville Police Department handled the investigation in this matter.

Torrae L. Burnett

On January 10, 44-year-old Torrae L. Burnett, of Peoria, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of contraband in a penal institution before Judge Richard A. Brown and was sentenced to one weekend in jail and placed on probation for a period of two years.

During the negotiated plea, Burnett admitted to possessing cannabis inside the Menard Correctional Center on March 13, 2016.

"The Department of Corrections put a lot of time and effort into this case and I appreciate their efforts," said Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker. "Contraband, such as cannabis, in a prison is dangerous due to the collateral issues that can arise in trading items and it creates a risk for correctional officers, and to a degree fellow inmates.

"Ms. Burnett was visiting an inmate and passed cannabis to that inmate. It has certainly stopped with her prosecution and banishment from IDOC property."

"If she did not have a clean record prior to this incident, I would have been in a better position to advocate for a stronger penalty, but with the lack of a history I just did not see a judge sending her to prison," Walker continued.

The Illinois Department of Corrections, with assistance from the Chester Police Department, handled the investigation in this matter.