Updated: Villa Grove man held without bond in schools threat
Updated 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.
TUSCOLA — A Douglas County judge has ordered that a Villa Grove man be held without bond after his arrest over the weekend for allegedly threatening to shoot young children at his stepson's schools in Tuscola.
Timothy E. Little, 36, of the 0-100 block of South Henson Road, allegedly made the threats Sunday morning during an argument with his wife, Sarah Little, 30, at their home.
"He opened the gun cabinet and started pulling guns out and putting them on the dining room table," Sarah Little told Judge Mike Carroll in a bond hearing Tuesday morning. "He had done that to me so many times, I just let him be."
Mrs. Little said her clearly agitated husband later came in their kitchen, stood in front of her and said "he would be taking the guns to North Ward School and every baby he kills is on me," she said. "I told him he was a coward and shouldn't say things like that in light of what's going on."
Mrs. Little's son from a previous marriage attends North Ward Elementary School and Wee Warriors Christian Academy preschool in Tuscola, according to State's Attorney Kevin Nolan, who on Tuesday filed charges against Little accusing him of making a terrorist threat, stalking, and domestic battery.
Under questioning by Assistant State's Attorney Kate Watson, Sarah Little said the last couple of months of her marriage to Little, which occurred last July, have been "difficult."
Sarah Little said they were eating breakfast together at a Villa Grove restaurant Sunday morning when they began arguing over her suggestion that they put off plans to build a new home. She said her husband got "very angry" and asked her if she was planning to leave him.
The argument continued when they got home, with him first pulling out two rifles, then later producing even more guns from a safe. Mrs. Little said she was in her bedroom collecting clothes to leave when Little held up a handgun.
"He turned and looked at me and said, 'I'm going to kill you today,'" she recounted, unsure if the gun was loaded.
"I began to uncontrollably sob," she said, sure she was going to die.
She described begging her husband to put the gun away, even going so far as to grab his wrist as he held the cocked weapon in his hand.
"He said neither of us was going to leave there alive," she said. "He lifted the gun and started to point it toward us. At some point he did put it down."
After he shoved her away and went to the bathroom, she left the house and went to a women's shelter in Tuscola, where she contacted police.
Little was arrested later that day in their home.
A court-ordered search of the home turned up 50 guns of varying sizes and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Nolan said Little has no criminal convictions and a valid firearm owner's identification card.
Making a terrorist threat is a Class X felony carrying penalties ranging from six to 30 years in prison; stalking is a Class 4 felony; and domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor.
"In this day and age, to hear that threat from a person who has enough weapons to equip an army compound, there's only one way you can go," said Nolan of his decision to file the Class X charge.
Nolan said the only case he's aware of in Douglas County against Little is an unresolved traffic ticket.
In an interview with police, Little admitted that he has been upset with his wife since Labor Day. On Sunday, he said they were both crying and confused and that he never threatened to kill anyone but himself.
He said he didn't recall clearly what all he said but told police that if he made any remarks about school shootings, "it was said out of anger and rage. I didn't know what I was saying."
Later in the interview he told police "it was not possible I would have carried out any threat. I could never hurt anyone."
Sarah Little told police she had gone to the women's shelter in Tuscola another time when Little allegedly held a gun to his own head in front of her 4-year-old son. She said his past behavior has amounted to mental rather than physical abuse.
The police reports said her son was at the Tuscola home of his father on Sunday and Little reportedly drove by the father's house and the women's shelter after his wife left their house.
At the time of his arrest, Little had about $2,800 cash on him, which he asked deputies to leave on him so he could post bond. He also asked them if he could set the burglar alarm to the house as they left since there were about $500,000 worth of guns inside.
Judge Mike Carroll initially denied Little's request for a public defender because he apparently makes too much money. Little runs a local trucking company. Carroll later appointed Public Defender Jim Lee to represent Little, since Carroll agreed to Nolan's request that Little be held without bond. He set Little's next court date for Feb. 6 but said it could happen earlier if Lee desired.
Nolan said that because of the alleged threats, he contacted the Tuscola schools superintendent Sunday and the Wee Warriors director on Monday to let them know what was going on.
Should bond be set later, Carroll ordered that Little have no contact with Mrs. Little, her son, the schools, or the Tuscola home of his wife's ex-husband.