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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Acquittal in Sean Kelley murder trial

A Ford County jury Wednesday returned a not guilty verdict in the Sean Kelley murder trial in Paxton. The jury of nine women and three men deliberated an hour and a-half before ruling the 34-year-old Paxton man 'not guilty' of second-degree murder in the 2013 death of Jeffery Potts of Paxton.

Kelley was charged in connection with the fatal stabbing of the 49-year-old Potts during a fight on October 17, 2013, in front of a downtown Paxton tavern.

Kelley had faced a sentence ranging from probation to between four and 15 years in prison if convicted of the Class 1 felony.

Kelley's defense attorney successfully argued argued during Kelley's two-day trial that his actions last October were in self-defense. Bruce Ratcliffe also raised doubt about whether Kelley ever possessed the knife that caused the fatal injury to Potts.


94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois 911 Board says emergency dispatching will continue… …despite County Board action

Feathers have been ruffled and personality differences continue, but Iroquois County 911 board members assure the public emergency services will remain in place.

Several emergency responders, including 911 board members, are not happy with Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas and board members who supported a vote to reduce the size of the ETSB Board. The argument is – professional know-how is lost and the county board does not have a workable plan in place to keep operations intact.

Besides that, the 911 members are insulted by Copas claims that the board is 'neglecting its duties and mismanaging the operations.'

Ashkum Fire Chief Jeff Glenn says the county board doesn't have a handle on what's going on.

The 911 Board Tuesday night voted to make a proposal to the County Board to oversee dispatching services, even once the board is reduced from 12 to six members.

Glenn and Milford Fire Chief Frank Hines, both of whom serve the 911 Board, say there's management responsibilities the County Board doesn't understand.

Hines has been on the 911 Board since it started in 1995. He points out the budget problems started when the County and the City of Watseka failed to meet their obligations and the ETSB board picked up the slack. The two organizations, Hines said, are $345,000 behind in payments. He says it was not a lack of planning.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Prison term looms for Onarga man

An Iroquois County jury convicted an Onarga man of a Class X felony. 47-year-old Jose Villanueava faces up to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced for predatory criminal sexual assault.

State's Attorney Jim Devine said Villanueva faces a minimum of 10 years.

Two victims were abused by the defendant, one just 8 years old at the time of the crime in 2006. The victims had reported the abuse back then but family members didn't believe them. Sheriff's Police and the DCFS were involved in the investigation.

Sentencing is set for November 19th.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Paxton motorist charged with DUI with child in car

A 23-year-old Paxton man is facing an aggravated DUI charge for allegedly driving erratically with a 2-year-old child in his vehicle.

Kyle Smith was charged Tuesday with aggravated driving under the influence and aggravated driving under the influence with a suspended driver's license.

Police reported stopping Smith's car after seeing him driving erratically near U.S. 136 and U.S. 45 early Sunday. Police said Smith failed a field sobriety test. Passengers in the car included a 21-year-old and a two-year-old child.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Ford County kidnapping, armed robbery plea

A Paxton man and Loda man have each entered guilty pleas to armed robbery and kidnapping charges. Both men admitted to their roles in the abduction, beating and robbery of a Paxton businessman last December.

25-year-old Rodolfo Cerritos of Paxton and 25-year-old Evigan Marcos of Loda will be sentenced December 1. They face 6 - 30 years in prison for armed robbery and 3 - 7 years for kidnapping.
Cerritos and Marcos are the second and third defendants to plead guilty in connection with last December's crime against businessman Joel Hastings.

23-year-old Eduardo Samano of Berwyn, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and was sentenced to three years of probation and 180 days in the county jail.

Charges against 43-year-old Manuel Santoyo were dropped.

Santoyo was ordered to pay $8,466 in restitution to Hastings and his family. The court order was also to apply to Marcos and Cerritos if they were convicted.

Police had said the men forced Hastings into his car, restrained him, and beat him with a gun and baseball bat as they drove him around Ford and Iroquois counties. The kidnappers released Hastings if he agreed to pay $50,000.

Arrests were made following a multijurisdictional investigation that included assistance by the FBI.

94.1 WGFA