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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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
URBANA – It took a Champaign County jury less than three hours Friday to find a Champaign man guilty of home invasion and criminal sexual abuse for an attack on a woman in her apartment two years ago.
Judge Harry Clem set sentencing for Patrick Thompson for Aug. 7.
CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign police officer will patrol the hallways of Centennial High School for the next three weeks.
The Champaign school district decided to add a school resource officer for its second high school summer school session, which started Wednesday, in the wake of several fights at the school last week. Assistant Superintendent Ecomet Burley said district officials hope the presence of the officer will deter students from causing any trouble during the remaining weeks of summer school.
URBANA – Observers of Champaign County's court system believe things have improved in the last year, according to a report released today.
The second annual report of the Champaign County Courtwatching Project concludes that juries are more reflective of the population of the county and that judges are doing a better job of explaining proceedings to defendants and litigants.