Georgetown man charged with murder

Georgetown man charged with murder

DANVILLE — A 31-year-old man with a long criminal record was formally charged on Friday in the brutal stabbing death of a fellow Georgetown man.

Gregory A. Johnson, of Georgetown, faces three counts of first-degree murder, Class M felonies, in Tuesday's death of 21-year-old Timothy Ellis, a husband and father of two young children.

Johnson was also charged with one count of criminal damage to government property, a Class 4 felony, and one count of criminal trespass to a residence, a Class A misdemeanor, stemming from a separate case.

At his arraignment hearing at the Rita B. Garman Vermilion County Courthouse, friends and family members of Mr. Ellis wept as State's Attorney Jacqueline Lacy presented the charges.

Lacy said that on Tuesday, the defendant arrived at the victim's house to ask him if he could move a couch. The victim agreed and walked with the defendant to his house, at 201 W. 15th St.

"On the way there, the defendant was accusing the victim of having feelings for a 16-year-old girl they both knew. The victim denied it," Lacy said.

After arriving at the defendant's house, "the defendant became completely and totally enraged and started stabbing the victim multiple times, slashing his throat," Lacy said. "Then he concealed his body."

Lacy said after the defendant was arrested and read his rights by police, he gave them a full confession.

Associate Judge Mark Goodwin assigned the public defender's office to represent Johnson, and the defendant's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Alia Horwick, pleaded "not guilty" to the charges on her client's behalf.

Goodwin also upheld Lacy's recommendation that Johnson be held on a $5 million bond for both cases, meaning he would have to post $500,000 in order to be released.

Lacy said Johnson has a long criminal past. He was sentenced to four years in prison for a Class 3 theft in Kankakee County, sentenced to another four-year term for a 2013 aggravated battery-strangulation case in Champaign County, and has convictions in a 2006 marijuana case in Cook County and a 2013 theft case in Champaign County.

He's currently on probation for a Class A domestic battery case in Vermilion County.

If Johnson is convicted of murder, he faces 20 to 60 years in prison, and would be required to serve 100 percent of his sentence.

Mr. Ellis was reported as a missing person on Wednesday, according to Georgetown police Chief Whitney Renaker.

Renaker said police identified and interviewed Johnson, whom they considered "a person of interest" at the time, and later arrested him on unrelated charges. When they interviewed him again the following day, he gave the confession and gave police the location of the victim's remains.

Georgetown police, along with investigators from the Vermilion County sheriff's office and Illinois State Police, located Mr. Ellis' body in the 200 block of West 15th Street.

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