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Man convicted in St. Louis-area shooting death

Friday, 08 March 2013 08:22 Published in Local News
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri jury has convicted a man of playing a role in the 2011 killing of a man whose burned body was found near a trash bin in neighboring Illinois.

A St. Louis County jury deliberated about three hours Wednesday before finding 41-year-old Ernest Smith guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. A co-defendant, 19-year-old Marquan Prete, has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.

Authorities allege Smith lured 30-year-old Christopher Scott of Normandy to his house after suspecting him in a previous break-in. After an argument, investigators believe Prete tackled Scott and held him down before Smith shot him twice.

Scott's burned body was later found dumped in Madison, Ill.

Prete's attorney has acknowledged his client was present during the killing but says he took no part in it.
WOOD RIVER, Ill. (AP) - Authorities in Wood River, Illinois say they've identified the body of a suspected heroin overdose victim as that of a 28-year-old man.

The (Alton) Telegraph reports that Kenneth Harris Jr.'s body was found Tuesday in a car parked in a bay of a car wash in Wood River.

Deputy Police Chief Mickey Sabolo says the investigation points to a heroin overdose as the cause of the man's death, and no foul play is suspected. Authorities say drug paraphernalia was found next to the victim, who Sabolo says appeared to have died alone.

An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, but results weren't released. Authorities are awaiting results of toxicology tests.
A former metro-east police chief will spend 18-months on probation and lose his right to carry a badge after pleading guilty to official misconduct.

Former New Athens Chief Dallas Hill admitted taking an Apple iPod and iPad from the department's evidence locker for personal use.

St. Clair County Prosecutor Brandon Kelly says it's the kind of crime officials hate to see. "You never want to have to do anything like this. You never want to have to prosecute a police officer, because they're part of our team."

Though the 27-year-old Hill won't report to a probation officer, the felony conviction bars him from being a police officer and carrying a gun.

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