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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois woman faces up to 60 years in prison after being convicted of playing a role in the 2011 carjacking and slaying of a bingo-playing grandmother.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports a St. Clair County Circuit judge found 39-year-old Belleville resident LaTosha Cunningham guilty of murder.

A co-defendant, 21-year-old DaQuan Barnes, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder related to the death of 85-year-old Yoko Cullen. He awaits sentencing Oct. 30.

Authorities allege that Barnes, Cunningham and another man staked out waited for Cullen outside a Collinsville bingo hall where one of them knew she played, then stopped her from driving away.

Authorities say Cullen was forced into her trunk and driven to East St. Louis, where her car was set on fire while she was inside.

 
Published in Local News

ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- Authorities say the disappearance of a St. Charles man was part of a scheme to fake his own death and cover up allegations that he sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Raymond David Avett of St. Charles disappeared in June, leaving suicide notes at several locations, including inside his Ford Explorer that was found abandoned in downtown St. Louis. He turned up three weeks later in Maryland.

Avett and his former girlfriend, 34-year-old Jennifer L. Callaway, were both charged Wednesday with concealing a felony.

Authorities allege that Callaway coerced Avett into giving her his home, SUV, boat and life insurance in exchange for not telling police about the alleged sexual assault.

Both suspects are jailed, Avett on $250,000 bond, Callaway on $200,000 bond.

 

Published in Local News

A five-year-old boy is dead, his mother's fiance facing charges for allegedly beating him to death.

Tavon Ludy from Glen Carbon is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Police say Ludy punched Torian Whittaker, in the chest Monday night. The boy was rushed to the hospital where he died. Investigators say Whittaker and his 7-year-old brother both showed signs of routine abuse at the hands of Ludy.

The boys' mother, Toria Coleman, is also facing charges, police say she knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. The surviving brother is in protective custody.

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - An Oklahoma doctor is charged with using a teenage Missouri boy to produce child pornography.

The U.S. attorney's office says Shelby Coleman was arrested over the weekend after going to a Springfield hotel and texting instructions for the 16-year-old to come to his room. The 36-year-old Tulsa Women's Health Clinic doctor was charged Monday in federal court and is being held in the Greene County Jail. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.

An affidavit says Coleman and the Laclede County teen sent one another sexually explicit text messages and images. The teen's father contacted the Missouri State Highway Patrol after discovering the messages, and a state trooper used the teen's phone to set up the meeting.

 

Published in Local News
Saturday, 28 September 2013 10:22

Bank robber sentenced to life in prison

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 40-year-old man with a history of robbing banks in Kansas and Missouri has been sentenced to life in prison for two holdups he was convicted of committing last year.

The U.S. Attorney's office says Eddie Prince Roberts of Columbia, Missouri won't be eligible for parole under the sentence he received Friday in federal court.

Roberts was convicted earlier of robbing Boone County National Bank in Columbia of more than $4,400 in April 2012, and Landmark Bank in Columbia of roughly $8,200 the following month.

He was arrested after the Landmark robbery following a foot chase in which he fought with an officer and was shot during the encounter.

Roberts was convicted in 1993 of robbing five banks in Kansas. He was also convicted of robbing a Missouri bank in 2000.

Published in Local News

Charges are filed against a teen connected to Wednesday's shooting of a Vashon High School senior.

17-year-old Lamarco Love is accused in the shooting. Police say that a group of teenagers were walking to school, when they were approached by Love and two others. An argument followed and when the first group of kids started to walk away, Love allegedly shot at them. A 17-year-old was hit in the back, and he is now in stable condition.

Police do not believe incident was gang related, but the result of a feud between the two groups. 

Published in Local News

A St. Louis man is behind bars after he allegedly tried to sell stolen items on Craigslist.

KMOV reports that Michael Perez allegedly broke into a pair of cars in Wildwood on Sunday. One of the victims called police after he saw what he believed was his radar jammer for sale on Craigslist. The man set up a meeting with Perez and when Perez arrived for the sale, police arrested him. Officers say they determine the radar detector had been stolen.

A search of the suspect's home revealed other stolen property including cash, jewelry and electronics. Perez now faces multiple charges related to the thefts. 

Published in Local News
Thursday, 26 September 2013 13:12

Former Boy Scout volunteer gets more prison time

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A former southwestern Illinois Boy Scout volunteer already imprisoned for molesting boys has been sentenced to 25 more years for sexual misconduct.

Fifty-six-year-old Jon Demers was sentenced to the new prison time this week after pleading guilty to three felony charges, including predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

St. Clair State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said the latest case involved a 12-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy in 2009.

Monday's sentence will run simultaneously to a six-year term the former Collinsville man got after being convicted in March of 12 sex-abuse counts involving a boy.

Demers was a Belleville Boy Scout troop committee member and merit badge counselor, but his status with that organization has been revoked. He also was a civilian employee of Scott Air Force Base.

 

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis-area woman has pleaded guilty to a scheme that cheated victims out of more than $80,000.

Sentencing is Jan. 9 for 46-year-old Theresa Moore, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to four felony fraud charges in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

Federal prosecutors say Moore used aliases and claimed she worked in law enforcement or the legal profession as part of her scam. One victim was an elderly widower whom Moore convinced was the victim of identity theft. The man paid her more than $60,000 after Moore convinced him he would receive money as part of a legal settlement.

Authorities say an associate of Moore posed as a police detective to aid Moore in another scheme that cost the victim $20,000.

 

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 13:20

Woman, 60, accused of abducting grandson in 2000

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. (AP) - A 60-year-old woman accused of abducting her baby grandson from Florida in 2000 moved around Missouri with the child for more than a decade, working at times in residential care facilities.

Sandy Hatte was arrested and charged this month with felony child abduction.

She appeared in Livingston County court Wednesday when a judge set a preliminary hearing for Oct. 23. Her lawyer, Melinda Troeger, declined comment.

The now-teenaged grandson has been reunited with his father and has returned to live with him in Alabama.

Investigators aren't saying how Hatte and the child got by or where they lived.

But an official with a Sedalia-based residential care company says Hatte worked for the company for a few years and was a "very good employee."

Published in Local News

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