Man charged in Paxton stabbing death

Man charged in Paxton stabbing death

PAXTON — A Paxton man was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of another man outside a downtown bar.

Ford County State's Attorney Matt Fitton filed the Class 1 felony against Sean F. Kelley, 33. Kelley is accused of fatally stabbing Jeffrey D. Potts, 49, of Paxton, during a fight on Oct. 17 in front of Shooky's Bar, 103 N. Market St.

Kelley, who remains at the Ford County Jail on a $1 million bond, is due in court for a preliminary hearing at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4.

He faces four to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Mr. Potts and Kelley were found lying on the sidewalk in front of the bar when Paxton police responded to the fight at 11:49 p.m. Oct. 17, according to a probable cause statement by the arresting officer.

Mr. Potts was unresponsive on his back with a stab wound to the upper-left chest. He was taken by ambulance to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

Kelley, meanwhile, was face down, bleeding from the face, police said in the court filing.

"Through witness accounts, it was determined that Sean Kelley was the subject that stabbed Potts," the arresting officer wrote. "Witnesses state that they saw Potts holding Kelley against a window and Kelley performing a stabbing motion with his right hand."

Police recovered a folding lock knife at the scene. The knife was found between the men, police said.

An autopsy determined that a single stab wound to the chest caused Mr. Potts' death, Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said.

Paxton Police Chief Bob Bane said the dispute started inside the bar, but the stabbing occurred outside on the sidewalk.

Kelley would have to pay $100,000 to be released from jail.

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