Courts Police and Fire

Former bank building touted as new police station

The Monticello city council heard from Police Chief John Carter Sept. 26 on the merits of converting the former First Mid-Illinois Bank building into a new police station.


Mansfield man to plead not guilty to murder charges

A Mansfield man accused of strangling his wife 26 years ago appeared in Piatt County Court in Monticello Monday for the first time since authorities filed four murder charges against him last Thursday.


DNA evidence, latex glove remnant cited in Houser arrest warrant

A 56-year-old Mansfield man has been arrested in connection with the October 1990 death of his estranged wife.


Murder charges filed in 1990 cold case

The Piatt County State's Attorney's office officially filed four counts of first degree murder charges today (Sept. 22) against Gregory J. Houser, 56, of Mansfield. A warrant for his arrest was also filed in Piatt County Circuit Court today, and was issued at 5 p.m.


Police chief: decriminalization does not mean legal

“The decriminalization of marijuana does not mean it is legal,” says Monticello Police Chief John Carter. It sounds simple, but he is already seeing plenty of misunderstanding surrounding a recent state code change that downgrades illegal cannabis possession of under 10 grams to a civil offense.


Monticello police chief could help in Farmer City police audit

The Farmer City Police Department could face a full-scale audit, including reviews of traffic stop data, policing complaints, grievances, and a series of interviews.


Shonkwiler memorial still being researched

A plaque and a gazebo could both be part of an outdoor memorial to honor former Piatt County judge John Shonkwiler, who died in 2012 after serving 47 years on the bench.


Family statement after inquest decision

Renee Fehr, sister of the late Sheryl Houser, read the following statement to the press after a coroner’s inquest jury on July 8 declared Houser’s death a homicide.


Jury: 1990 death was a homocide

Twenty-six years after Sheryl Houser was found dead with a rope around her neck in her rural Mahomet garage, a Piatt County coroner’s jury has ruled her case a homicide. The ruling came after three hours of testimony Friday morning, which included a forensic pathologist’s opinion that Houser’s death looked more like a homicide than a suicide.


Gale pleads guilty, sentencing announced

A former Champaign police officer who pleaded guilty to committing an unwanted sex act with a former girlfriend in Piatt County has been sentenced to probation and jail time but will have to register for life as a sex offender.


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