URBANA – Genetic material on a soda can has led to criminal charges against three men in connection with the beating and robbery of a Pesotum man two years ago.
Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said that in early February, her office was notified by the state crime lab that DNA found on a soda can in the driveway of a home where a 50-year-old man had been attacked in February 2005 matched that of Richard Davis.
Davis, 26, of Indianola, is currently serving a four-year prison sentence for possession with intent to deliver cannabis out of Vermilion County.
Sheriff's investigators looking into the Feb. 11, 2005, attack at the rural Pesotum home interviewed Davis in prison and developed other leads that led to the state's attorney filing charges of home invasion and armed robbery against him, Lavell Brigham, 25, and Matthew Benschneider, 22, both of Danville.
Benschneider turned himself in Monday after warrants were obtained on Friday. He posted bond and was released from custody. On Tuesday, he entered a plea of innocent and had his case set for May 8 before Judge Tom Difanis.
Warrants are outstanding for the other two. Rietz asked anyone with information on Brigham's whereabouts to contact the sheriff's office.
Rietz said that that victim had returned home from shopping and got out of his car when he was approached by one man asking if his son was home. The man said his son was not there, and the other man asked to come in and use the bathroom. When the man said no, he was then tackled by three men.
All three hit him with metal pipes, then took him into his house and duct-taped his hands and ankles and continued to strike him.
He was beaten severely about the head and robbed of his wallet, which contained $120, Rietz said.