Vermilion shooting suspect's trial set

Vermilion shooting suspect's trial set

DANVILLE — A 20-year-old rural Danville man who was shot and injured by a Vermilion County sheriff's deputy in November will stand trial on weapon and assault charges stemming from a separate incident that occurred shortly before he was shot.

Vermilion County Associate Judge Derek Girton on Thursday found probable cause to try Caleb R. Emory on one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated assault of a person 60 years old and assault.

Emory — through his attorney, Mark Christoff — pleaded not guilty to the charges. A jury trial was set for Jan. 21.

If he's convicted on the weapons offense, he could face between four and 15 years in prison.

At Emory's preliminary hearing in Vermilion County Circuit Court, Illinois state police Sgt. Windy Lash testified that investigators were called to assist the sheriff's department with a shooting at 138 Arlington Drive, in unincorporated Home Gardens, early the morning of Nov. 21.

State police also are investigating another shooting at Emory's house, at 2530 Georgetown Road in unincorporated Hegeler, which occurred later that morning. Sheriff's deputies were called to a domestic disturbance at the residence at 4:13 a.m., and a veteran deputy shot Emory during an "attempted enforcement action."

Emory received nonlife-threatening injuries to his left jaw and was hospitalized for several days.

That incident remains under investigation, Lash said following Emory's hearing. She doesn't know when a final report will be sent on to State's Attorney Randy Brinegar, who will determine whether the deputy's actions were justified.

Sheriff Pat Hartshorn has said that the deputy, whose name has not been released, was following departmental procedure when he fired his weapon.

On Thursday, Lash said Donald Barber III lived at the Arlington Drive home, and Emory was there at a drinking party. Witnesses said an argument between the two began inside, then moved outside.

"They had started wrestling and it got out of hand. It escalated into a fight," Lash said, adding witnesses said Emory appeared agitated.

Witnesses then heard what sounded like a gunshot, then noticed a bullet hole in a window, Lash testified. She added investigators at the crime scene took pictures of a divot mark on a washer, a paint chip on the washer that was consistent with a bullet striking the house and a hole in a mattress that was leaning up against the washer.

Lash also said Justin Leigh, who was at the party, told investigators on Nov. 25 that after hearing the gunshot, he called Emory's cellphone.

"He said, 'Why did you just shoot at us?'" Lash said, referring to Leigh's statement in a police report. Emory's response: "I'm sorry; I don't know why I just did that."

Finally, Lash testified that Blaine Bishop, who wasn't at the party, told investigators that he received a call from Emory, a childhood friend, early the morning of Nov. 21.

According to Bishop's statement, Emory told him he was at his residence, and "he said he had just shot and killed someone and he was upset," Lash said.

Under questioning by Christoff, Lash conceded that investigators haven't found a bullet and said no one was killed.

Emory remains behind bars at the Vermilion County Jail on $100,000 bond, meaning he would have to post $10,000 in order to be released.

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