Danville man pleads guilty to home invasion in beating of Korean War vet

Danville man pleads guilty to home invasion in beating of Korean War vet

DANVILLE — A 21-year-old Danville man who was accused of forcing his way into a Tilton senior apartment complex and brutally attacking one resident in April 2016 pleaded guilty to one of the more serious charges on Monday.

Vermilion County Circuit Judge Tom O'Shaughnessy accepted Tyren C. Wilson's plea to one count of home invasion, a Class X felony, on the day Wilson's jury trial was set to begin.

Four other counts of home invasion, one count of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated battery to a person over 60 and one count of possession of a revoked FOID card in that case, as well as a misdemeanor charge of battery stemming from a separate case, were dismissed under a plea agreement worked out between Special Prosecutor Tom Brown with the Illinois appellate prosecutor's office and Wilson's attorney, Kevin Dixon.

Wilson is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 15. O'Shaughnessy told Wilson he could be sentenced to six to 25 years in prison, and would have to serve 85 percent of it.

During the hearing, Brown told O'Shaughnessy that if the case had gone to trial, he would have presented evidence that showed on April 15, 2016, police were called to the Coachlight Mobile Home Park in Tilton for a report of a man with a gun. When police arrived, the man — later identified as Wilson — took off and ran to the nearby Tilton Senior Complex.

Brown said Wilson first tried to enter an elderly man's apartment, but the screen door was shut and he was denied entrance. He then forced his way into an elderly woman's apartment.

"He threatened her with a weapon and demanded money," Brown said, adding the woman, who had been reading a book, was able to run out her back door and escape but not without falling and injuring herself.

Brown said Wilson started to pursue the woman, but then went back inside her apartment. He then forced his way into the adjacent apartment by breaking through the drywall and insulation of a wall and climbing through the hole.

The apartment was occupied by John Golden, then 86, who was sitting in a chair and heard the pictures on the wall of his spare bedroom rattling and fall to the floor.

"He made threats to Mr. Golden ... and struck him repeatedly," Brown said, adding Golden received serious injuries.

Not long after the incident, Golden, a Korean War veteran, told The News-Gazette that Wilson beat him with a gun. He said he received 107 stitches and eight staples in his head, ears and the bridge of his nose; his ring finger, glasses and watch were broken; his face and shoulders were covered in bruises; and he was hospitalized for four days.

Sheriff's deputies also said Wilson held Golden hostage at gunpoint, but a negotiator with the special operations group was able to talk him into surrendering.

Wilson, who made several outbursts and could be seen arguing with his former court-appointed attorney in previous hearings, slouched in his chair at the plea hearing, but he answered all of the judge's questions dutifully.

The case was delayed for more than a year when the judge found Wilson mentally unfit to stand trial following evaluations by two court-appointed psychiatrists. Wilson claimed to have hallucinations and believed he was working with the government.

However, the judge found him fit this past March following subsequent evaluations including by a psychiatrist and psychologist who observed and interacted with him at McFarland Mental Health Center in Springfield. Both professionals testified they believed Wilson was exaggerating symptoms and malingering to avoid trial.

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