Attorney in Paxton kidnapping case gets more prep time

Attorney in Paxton kidnapping case gets more prep time

PAXTON — One of the four men charged in connection with the kidnapping, armed robbery and beating of a rural Paxton man last December has been given more time to prepare a defense.

Judge Paul Lawrence granted a motion Monday by Paxton attorney Lance Cagle to continue the case of his client, Eduardo Samano, 22, of Berwyn, to 9 a.m. May 5.

Cagle told Lawrence that he has not received any discovery from Ford County State's Attorney Matt Fitton. Cagle said he expected Fitton to provide him later on Monday with a 17-page report from the Paxton Police Department, which Fitton received earlier that day.

However, Cagle said he expects "substantial" discovery will be needed in addition to that report, from both the Paxton police and FBI. Cagle said the large amount of evidence yet to be received means he will not be ready for an April trial, but more likely a July trial.

Lawrence entered an order Monday in Samano's case, setting deadlines for pretrial motions and discovery.

Also appearing in Ford County Circuit Court on Monday were Samano's co-defendants: Rodolfo A. Cerritos, 25, of Paxton; Evigan J. Marcos, 24, of Loda; and Manuel Samano-Santoyo, 42, of Chicago.

Samano-Santoyo's case was continued to 9 a.m. Wednesday, while the others' cases were continued to 10 a.m. March 17.

The four are charged with two counts each of armed robbery, a Class X felony, and kidnapping, a Class 2 felony; and one count of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony.

Paxton police testified at a preliminary hearing that the victim — Joel Hastings of rural Paxton — was forced into his car, restrained and beaten with a gun and baseball bat as two Hispanic men drove him around Ford and Iroquois counties.

They also robbed him of $300 in cash that he had in his possession, plus two credit cards, a cellphone and two profit-sharing checks written to Hastings from his employer.

They let Hastings leave under the condition he later provide them with $50,000 in cash or "the same value in drugs," Johnson said.

Cerritos and Marcos admitted to police after their arrest that they were in the vehicle with Hastings. Both told police that Samano picked them up from the scene and that he planned and organized the crime. Police later said Samano-Santoyo was the "mastermind" behind the crime.

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