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Foster mom's murder conviction appealed

A former Cullom woman serving a life prison term is asking the Illinois Appellate Court to reverse her conviction for the 2011 killing of her 4-year-old foster daughter. The defense argues the conviction of Heather Lamie should be reversed because of errors during her trial.

The 32-year-old Lamie was convicted of the May 4, 2011 beating death of Kianna Rudesill. The victim and her sibling had been placed with Lamie's family in 2010.
Heather Lamie is serving life in prison for murder.

A Bloomington defense lawyer argues the state failed to link the child's injuries to Lamie and the evidence against her "was so unreasonable, so improbable, and so unsatisfactory as to create a reasonable doubt that she was responsible for the death of Kianna."

Text messages exchanged May 3, 2011 between Lamie and her husband Joshua in which he told his wife to "beat her (Kianna's) ass" should not have been used as evidence, stated the attorney in his argument. The use of the message "fueled the fire when trying to find someone to blame" for the injuries."

In their appellate brief, Livingston County State's Attorney Seth Uphoff and the office of Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor argued that the evidence was overwhelming against Lamie who was the only adult with the child at the time she was injured.

Lamie's conflicting statements to police and her admission that she was frustrated with the child on the day she was hurt were considered by the jury, the state argued.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Rantoul names new Police Chief

Erman Blevins is the choice for Rantoul. He'll be the new police chief.

The 47-year-old Blevins will succeed Paul Farber. The village board made its choice Monday night, concurring with Mayor Chuck Smith.

Blevins has served as commander of records and administration for the Carpentersville Police Department. The mayor said Blevins' ability "to function inside a police department was more appealing."

"He brought a sense of energy and stability to the office," Smith said. "I think he's also offering a new vision and guidance to the command situation."

Blevins said he will give the Carpentersville department 45 days notice and expects to begin his duties in Rantoul on February 9.

Andy Zinke, who spent 25 years with the McHenry County Sheriff's Office, was also among the two finalists for the Rantoul job.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

GCMS School District names new Superintendent

Current Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley principal Jeremy Darnell will become the district's new superintendent, effective July 1.

The 41-year-old Darnell. A 7-year GCMS Middle school Principal, was chosen by the school board in a unanimous vote. He'll assume the post being vacated by the pending retirement of Anthony Galindo.

Board members expect to approve Darnell's contract, salary and benefits at their January meeting.

The district received 10 applications for the position.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Fatal hit & run in White County leads to arrest

Police have made an arrest in a hit-and-run crash that killed a White County woman and a 13-year-old girl in October.

The White County, IN Sheriff's Office is reporting the arrest of 22-year-old Austin Warren of Logansport. His arrest (Monday) on a warrant is for two counts of failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death. That's a Class 5 felony.

The case involves a hit-and-run accident in October that killed a White County woman and a 13-year-old girl.
Authorities said the October 11th accident happened just before 8 pm on County Road 800 North. Investigators said a car traveling on County Road 800 North collided with a truck on State Road 16.

48-year-old Deborah Barkas was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The female child were extricated from the vehicle and taken to IU Health White Memorial Hospital. Hannah Ohrt was then air-lifted to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. She died there two weeks later.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Jasper County mishap kills Rensselaer man

A Rensselaer man died after he lost control of his vehicle and hit a utility pole Friday. Jasper County Sheriff's Police said 26-year-old Javier Herrera was found lying on the roadway after he was thrown from his vehicle.

A 911 call alerted police about 8:40 pm to the crash on County Road 400 North, just west of U.S. 231. That's about eight miles north of Rensselaer, Indiana.

Herrerra was pronounced dead at Christ Hospital in Chicago two hours later.

Investigators said that Herrera was speeding and lost control when cresting a small hill. They said his truck left gouge marks on the road, presumably from the vehicle's undercarriage. The vehicle hit a utility pole. They believe Herrera was ejected from the truck during the impact because he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

The crash remains under investigation.

94.1 WGFA