A Belleville martial arts instructor is headed to prison after admitting to sexually abusing three of his students.
Christopher Horton told a judge, he abused the students and recorded the acts on his cell phone. The incidents happened between May of 2012 and February of this year. The victims were between six and ten years old. Horton pleaded guilty to six total counts. When he is sentenced in March, Horton will face up to 30 years behind bars.
Two metro-east teachers are among the finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year.
Sina Rowe is a kindergarten to third grade special education teacher at Goshen Elementary School in Edwardsville. Donna Whitaker teaches seventh grade Science at West Junior High School in Belleville.
They're among 11 finalists named Monday by state education officials. The winner will be announced at an October banquet in Normal.
Other finalists: John Bierbaum at Normal Community West High School in Normal, Mark Buesing at Libertyville High School in Libertyville, Amanda Dearmond at DuQuoin Middle School in DuQuoin, William Fritz at Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, DeLores Mannes at Parker Junior High School in Flossmoor, Kerry (Fran) Meyers at Brimfield Grade School in Brimfield, Pam Reilly at Woodbury Elementary School in Sandwich, Aaron Sitze at Oregon High School in Oregon and Amy Walsh at Tioga School in Bensenville.
A robbery near Belleville in which the victim was pistol whipped is prompting a warning from Metro-east authorities about the dangers of online sales.
St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson says a woman and her boyfriend were robbed at gun point in the parking lot of the Bradford Place Apartments. They were lured there by someone who'd advertised an iPhone for sale on Craigslist.
Two teens, one with a gun, stole the couple's cash and a cell phone. One of the teens struck the woman in the head with a handgun.
One of the suspects is identified as 17 yr. old Trevon Yates of East St. Louis. The other is a juvenile, identified only as a 16 yr. old male. Both teens are now in custody and facing felony charges.
Sheriff Watson is reminding the public to use extreme caution when buying and selling things online and only meet strangers in a well-lit, public place.
Police believe a man shot to death in the St. Clair County Courthouse Monday afternoon took his own life.
St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson says it happened on the fourth floor of the parking garage about 4:30 p.m.
Police haven't released the man's name pending notification of family, but say he was 25-30 years old and had addresses in both Belleville and Caseyville, Illinois.
Watson says the man had not gone to the courthouse but to the probation office on the other side of the garage.
Sheriff's deputies and Belleville police had initially closed down the garage thinking there might be a gunman still lurking. It reopened about an hour later.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The mother of a metro-east teenager killed a car crash is free on bond after being accused of giving her son beer and whiskey before the accident.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports 39 year old Ginger Zehner-Denton of Mascoutah surrendered this week on a charge filed earlier this month that accuses her of unlawful delivery of alcohol.
Her 18 year old son, Stephen Zehner, died in a Jan. 26 crash. He was a senior at Belleville West High School.
A 16 year old passenger in the car he was driving was seriously injured and hospitalized for three months.
Zehner-Denton's attorney says he's not commenting publicly about the case.
The felony is punishable by up to three years in prison.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois judge says a Belleville AIDS organization needs to stop its needle-exchange program until it gets a special zoning permit.
Bethany Place's will have to conform with the city's zoning code, which doesn't allow it to dispense medical supplies.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A judge in southwestern Illinois is considering an AIDS service organization's challenge of a city's decision to bar the group from running a needle-exchange program because of a zoning issue.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert Haida took the matter under advisement after a hearing Monday. The judge will issue a written ruling.
The city sued in February, believing Bethany Place's needle-exchange program violates the type of operations allowed for that site under the city's zoning codes.
Bethany Place responded last month, arguing the city waited too long to complain.
The organization calls the city's move unfair and prejudicial to clients served by the program.
St. Clair County jurors Thursday convicted 55 year old John Demers after less than two hours of deliberation.
The charges involved a teenager who said Demers had inappropriate contact with him between 2005 and 2011.
Demer's attorney says his client maintains his innocence.
St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone tells the Belleville News-Democrat that 19-year-old Dyilion Rojas was found dead Thursday in a home after someone anonymously called police to report a possible overdose.
The 6-month-old baby was found beside Rojas and was later turned over to a relative.
The connection between Rojas and the infant isn't clear.
An autopsy is planned, and results of lab screenings of his blood aren't expected to be available for weeks.
Fox 2 reports Mayor Mark Eckert cast the deciding vote at the meeting to approve 200,000 dollars in tax-increment financing for the Ruler Foods. Ruler Foods is a discount store owned by Kroger's. The TIF money will be used to tear down the vacant building on the lot. Eckert says demolition should begin in March and the store could open by September.