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Champaign police seek details on copper thief

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign cops are looking for someone who has been stealing copper.

Since April there have been eight reports of copper being stolen, mostly from businesses and generally in the center of the city, according to Champaign police crime analyst Gary Spear.


Local organization marking 20 years

Champaign County Crimestoppers is marking its 20th anniversary.

Since 1986, the organization has helped local law enforcement agencies solve all kinds of crimes and find all kinds of fugitives.


Man accused of choking officer during arrest

URBANA – An Urbana police officer was choked by a man who was being arrested at an Urbana apartment complex Friday night.

Arrested for attempted murder, aggravated battery and resisting arrest was Malcolm Jones, 19, who listed an address in the 2000 block of Vawter Street, Urbana.


'Couldn't get off that bad path'

URBANA – A friend of an Urbana man brutally murdered in May said he told her weeks before his death that someone was out to get him.

Cathy Galla, who lives in the Cleveland area, said she met John Eugene Tash online in 1998 and became fast friends with him. She knew he met a lot of people over the Internet and traveled to see them, including her and her children.


Murder charge against one defendant dropped

MONTICELLO – Piatt County's chief prosecutor has dropped a murder charge against one of two men accused in the fatal beating of an Urbana man.

Piatt County State's Attorney Leonard Rumery on Thursday told Circuit Judge John P. Shonkwiler he was dismissing charges of first-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery against Gerald E. "Butch" Merritt Jr., 43, of Sidell.


Involuntary manslaughter charge dropped

URBANA – A special prosecutor today dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against former Champaign City Council member J.W. Pirtle, after Pirtle agreed to have a judge and not a jury decide if he's guilty of criminal housing management.

Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd then continued Pirtle's case again to Aug. 30 after hearing from defense attorney Mark Lipton of Champaign and Michael Vujovich of the state appellate prosecutor's office that they are working on a set of stipulations that should streamline the evidence for Ladd to consider.


Deaths likely not a random act

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police say they are making progress investigating the case of a couple found slain in their southwest Champaign home on the Fourth of July.

Champaign Deputy Chief Troy Daniels said the murders of Jerry and Sue Haigh of 1702 Scottsdale Drive have "dramatically impacted that neighborhood and the quality of life of those people."


Second suspect in beating death of Urbana man arrested at home

MONTICELLO – A man wanted in connection with the murder of an Urbana man was arrested this morning in Mansfield.

Piatt County Sheriff Robert Manint said Illinois State Police arrested Jerry D. Henderson, 45, of Mansfield near his home at 10:30 a.m.


Citizens police review board idea receives good reception in Urbana

URBANA – A proposal to create a citizens police review board in Urbana to investigate complaints against police officers is getting mostly positive reviews.

But the union for city police, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, is arguing that the proposal still has to be negotiated, which could delay passage.


Man arrested for hitting motorcycle, leaving scene

CHAMPAIGN – An Ogden man is accused of smashing a motorcycle into the back of a police squad car, then leaving the scene early Sunday.

Joshua Joy, 21, was arrested by Champaign police for leaving the scene of an accident, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and having no insurance, according to a Champaign police report.