A case update as the new year begins

Here is a look at some local criminal cases and where they stand in early 2019.

Defendants: Brown, Mason E., 35, Monticello; Brown, Christie M., 62, Monticello; and Tatman, Justin D., 37, of Bement

Case summary: The trio were arrested for criminal neglect after the death of 64-year-old Ronald Blankenship at his home on West Monroe Street in Monticello. Both Mason and Christie Brown were both living with Blankenship in the home, where police described conditions as “deplorable,” including soiled “puppy pads” layered underneath an ailing Mr. Blankenship in his bed. All three are charged with counts of criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person with a disability leading to a death (Class 2 felony) and criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person with a disability (Class 3 Felony). Mason and Christie Brown also face two counts each of aggravated cruelty to animals (Class 4 Felony).

Tatman was released on $10,000 bond ($1,000 deposited), Christie Brown was released on $30,000 bond ($3,000 deposited); Mason Brown was released on $50,000 bond ($5,000 deposited)

What’s next: Jury trials for all three at 9:30 a.m. April 1 in Monticello. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 4.

Defendant: Castillo, Antonio O., 23, Urbana

Case summary: State Police say Castillo was stopped in Piatt County after being clocked at driving 129 miles per hour on Interstate 72 on June 11. He was stopped near mile marker 172 (Route 10 exit). Castillo was charged in Piatt County with Class 3 Felonies of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver; and unlawful possession of cannabis with a prior convection on file; speeding 35+ over the speed limit (Class A Misdemeanor); and driving on a suspended license (Class A Misdemeanor). He was released on $35,000 bond ($3,500 paid)

What’s next: A jury trial at 9:30 a.m. April 1 in Monticello

Defendant: Harris, Christina M., 34, Arcola

Case summary: Charged with aggravated arson (Class X Felony) and residential arson (Class 1 Felony) in August after allegedly starting a fire at a home she shared with her husband in Atwood. According to a police report, Harris was found with a lighter and propane torch in the yard of the home in the 200 block of Eric Drive while it was burning. She was released on $30,000 bond ($3,000 paid)

What’s next: A jury trial at 8:30 a.m. April 15 in Tuscola. A pretrial conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 11.

Defendant: McGee, Todd R., 34, Cerro Gordo

Case summary: McGee had been sought on home invasions in the area last spring when he fled the state. He was eventually apprehended in Atlanta, Georgia in May and transported shortly after back to Piatt County. Reports indicate McGee left the area after an incident on April 3 when police say he broke into a home in Cerro Gordo and tried to strangle his estranged wife. He was charged with home invasion (Class X Felony), aggravated domestic battery (Class 2 Felony) and violating an order of protection (Class 4 Felony) in Piatt County. Bond was set at $200,000, and he remained in Piatt County Jail the remainder of the year, eventually transferred to jail in Macon County, where he faces additional charges of residential burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, violating an order of protection and criminal trespass to property.

What’s next: A status hearing for “status and possible disposition” is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. March 11 in Monticello for the Piatt County charges. Pre-trial hearings in Macon County are scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 5.

Defendant: West, Dennis H., 43, Atwood

Case summary: Arrested in December on suspicion of child pornography. Charged in Douglas County Court on counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (Class 2 Felony), and indecent solicitation of a child (Class 3 Felony) and solicitation of a sexual act (Class A Misdemeanor). He was released on $15,000 bond ($1,500 deposited)

What’s next: A jury trial at 8:30 a.m. April 15 in Tuscola.


 

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