Justin DeRyke was in court Thursday to enter a not guilty plea for the murder of his young niece.
With the plea, DeRyke moved the case closer to a trial. Police say DeRyke admitted to stabbing 7-year-old Willow Long to death, but he claims it was to "put her out of her misery". He claims that the girl fell into a pile of brush and a stick stabbed her in the neck. An autopsy result turned up evidence that prosecutors say contradict his story. The judge set the trial for December 2.
If convicted, DeRyke faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
St. Charles police believe the man accused of drugging and raping a 13 year old girl and taking nude cell phone pictures of her, probably had more victims.
Forty-seven year old Thomas Wilburn is charged with statutory sodomy, statutory rape and enticement of a child under age 14.
St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar says Wilburn lured the girl to his apartment in May through a singles' telephone chat service that's supposed to be for adults only. Lohmar calls that disturbing. "It is very concerning that somebody who's underage could find their way, not only into the chat room, but to be able to participate in the chat room," Lohmar said.
Lohmar says this girl probably wasn't the only victim Wilburn met through the chat service. "We have reason to believe that there are other victims out there, for sure," he said.
Police say Wilburn was identified through court ordered phone records.
Wilburn is a registered sex offender with statutory rape convictions in 2007. He's currently jailed on $100,000 bond.
CAVE-IN-ROCK, Ill. (AP) - Vendors at a recently completed outdoor festival featuring the Insane Clown Posse rap-metal group say they haven't been paid thousands of dollars by promoters of the yearly southern Illinois event.
The Southern Illinoisan reports that several vendors at the Gathering of the Juggalos say they've received bad checks from the promoters of the event near Cave-In-Rock.
Hardin County Sheriff Jerry Fricker says his department got a check from the promoters, Michigan-based Psychopathic Records Inc., as a donation for equipment such as protective vests and stun guns. But Fricker says that check bounced.
The festival has been staged for the past several years near Cave-In-Rock, drawing thousands of people for a week.
A message seeking comment was left Thursday with Psychopathic Records.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - New Census Bureau figures show Illinois' poverty rate remained stubbornly near 15 percent last year, and anti-poverty advocates say that's a sign an economic recovery isn't trickling down to the least fortunate.
The latest figures suggest that 14.7 percent of Illinoisans, or about 1.85 million people, lived in poverty last year. That's down ever slightly from 15 percent, or 1.88 million, in 2011.
The national rate also remained at 15 percent.
Amy Terpstra of the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance's Social Impact Research Center says the latest figures may make the case for raising Illinois' minimum wage. It's set at $8.25 an hour. Gov. Pat Quinn is pushing that idea, but business executives say it could backfire and force employers to eliminate jobs.
The top health official in the nation is in St. Louis to take part in a discussion about the Affordable Care Act.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met with local and state officials as part of a nationwide push to educate taxpayers about changes coming with Obamacare on Thursday. Part of the ACA calls for an expansion in Medicaid, but the legislature has rejected that proposal.
Sebelius will met with officials at City Hall at 2 PM.
Police believe they have one captured one of two suspects who were involved in a series of car break-ins.
The crimes occurred overnight. Police say the two men entered six cars that were parked in the 5800 block of Walsh and Delor. Investigators say all of the cars were unlocked. Police chased the suspects from the scene, but caught only one. Officers used a stun gun to subdue the suspect.
The search continues for the second suspect.
A Troy, Illinois man is facing charges for having child pornography.
Tyler Bergland allegedly downloaded several images and videos over a six month period. If convicted he could face up to 20 years in prison, supervised release for the rest of life, and a $250,000 fine.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - New U.S. census data shows that Missouri is one of just two states where median incomes fell in 2012 from the previous year, as many residents continue to grapple with a slow-to- recover economy.
Median household income in the state was $45, 321 last year. That's a 1.6 percent decline from 2011. Nationally, the median income for U.S. households in 2012 was $51, 017. That figure remained flat after two previous annual declines.
The federal Census Bureau also reported a statewide poverty rate of 11.7 percent. But for single mothers with dependent children, the poverty level hovers around 44 percent.
Statewide, nearly 270,000 of the 1.5 million families who participated in the annual American Community Survey reported household incomes under $24,999.
Happy Birthday G.R.R! One of the most scenic roadways in the area is celebrating a milestone this week. The Great River Road, a 3,000-mile stretch of highway along the Mississippi River which winds from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, is turning 75. The Mississippi River Parkway Commission is gathering Friday in downtown St. Louis to celebrate. A ceremony on the significance, economic and tourism impact of the road is planned at the riverfront stage beneath the Gateway Arch. The commission is a multi-state organization that promotes tourism along the Great River Road. Commission officials say travelers spend more than $25 billion annually in communities along the Great River Road, supporting thousands of jobs in ten states.
Guests at a local motel were evacuated overnight after a suspected meth lab was discovered during a police response to a domestic disturbance. Sunset Hills police were called to a room at the Econo Lodge Inn at Lindbergh and Watson Rds. around midnight. While investigating that incident, an officer discovered another crime in progress in a different room. Sunset Hills police chief William LeGrand says the officer saw a subject sitting outside the hotel cutting batteries with a pipe cutter. The policeman then saw smoke and pushed the room door open to make sure that there wasn't a fire. At that point, the Chief says, the officer was overcome a bit by the fumes. The subject was arrested. He had apparently been attempting to cook methamphetamine in the room. After St. Louis County police Hazmet crews inspected the area, guests were allowed to return to their rooms. The officer was taken to the hospital, treated and released. Charges have not yet been filed.