An Ellisville man who broke into his ex-girlfriend's home and attacked her small dog so severely that the animal had to be euthanized, was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday. In July, a St. Charles jury found Charles Zidek guilty of felony charges of animal abuse and burglary. St. Charles County Circuit Judge Rick Zerr gave the 37 year old Zidek a four-year term on each charge, to run consecutively. Prosecutors say Zidek entered the home of Diana Walkonis in October, 2011, by breaking out a basement window. Authorities say he then repeatedly threw her Italian greyhound, Vinny, against a bedroom wall. Walkonis found her pet when she returned home later that day. Zidek was linked to the crime when by blood found in the house near the broken window, matched his DNA.
Investigators in East St. Louis are awaiting the results of toxicology tests before deciding whether to file charges in the death of a newborn. Authorities say the baby boy was allegedly thrown from a second-story window by his 23 year old mother. Police Chief Michael Floore says it's unclear if the full-term baby was stillborn. The baby's body was found wrapped in a sheet in some bushes near the home in the 500 block of North 22nd Street.
The online health insurance exchanges are now open in both Missouri and Illinois. The online marketplace is a key component of the federal health care law. Illinois officials have set up their own marketplace at GetCoveredIllinois.gov. Missouri voters chose to bar their government from setting up its own marketplace. So the federal government is running the exchange for Missouri residents at Healthcare.gov. Consumers have until December 15th to sign up if they want coverage to start on January 1st, but enrollment is open until March 31.
A death penalty case in St. Charles County is the first in more than a decade.
Sixty-three year old Terry Culberson is accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend, 55 year old Dorothy Hall in the face five times. Her body was found inside Culberson's O'Fallon, Missouri mobile home on February 5, 2013.
St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar says the brutality of the murder was a factor in deciding to ask for the death penalty. "St. Charles County has not requested a death penalty since 2002, so it's a very unique situation," he said.
Lohmar says Culberson's past conviction for assault with the intent to kill was also a factor. A trial date has not yet been set.