A Damiansville man is likely to face trial in the early fall in his ongoing case of a fatal hit and run that occurred over one year ago. Jonathan Nast, 26, of Circle Drive in Damiansville appeared in Clinton County Circuit Court last Wednesday before Judge William Becker with his attorney Joe Heiligenstein.
During the status hearing, state’s attorney John Hudspeth stated that the matter was previously continued and were hoping for an early October trial date.
At the last court appearance on May 28, a motion was filed on the state’s behalf stating that the jury trial, which was slated for June 8, be rescheduled to a later date because the victim’s parents planned to vacate the area and would not be available for trial as the one-year anniversary approached of the victim’s death.
In October 2014, Nast was indicted by a Clinton County grand jury on charges of failure to report a motor vehicle accident involving a death, a Class 1 felony, and obstructing justice, a Class 4 felony, for his role in the death of an Edwardsville woman.
Court documents state that on June 7, 2014, Nast allegedly failed to stop the vehicle that he was driving, a 1997 Dodge Ram pickup, after the vehicle was involved in an accident on West Fourth Street in Breese, which resulted in the death of 23-year-old Lana Albert and thereafter failed to report the accident to a police station or sheriff’s department.
In addition, Nast, with the intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution (of himself), knowingly concealed evidence (the 1997 Dodge Ram pickup) which resulted in the death of Albert and had transported said truck to a salvage dealer in Murphysboro and sold it without having first reported to police his involvement in the accident.
Police reports indicate that Albert was reportedly walking on Old Route 50 in Breese in the early morning hours of June 7, near Community Link, when she was apparently struck by an unidentified vehicle. The vehicle then left the scene.
Four years and two sheriffs later, investigators are still baffled about the disappearance of a Jerseyville man who was last seen in eastern Clinton County. Twenty-eight-year-old Jared Hanna of Jerseyville was last seen July 3, 2011, walking on College Road, near Jolliff Bridge Road, in Centralia in Clinton County.
He was approximately 70 miles from his home in Jerseyville and his vehicle, a 1993 GMC Sierra truck, was found abandoned and out of gas along Jolliff Bridge Road. However, Hanna is nowhere to be found.
Clinton County Sheriff Doug Maue said that the sheriff’s department continues to look into any leads that come into the office and until there is some sort of a conclusion, the case is still open.
“The case is still open and we will continue to look into any information and follow up on the information,” Maue said.
Prior to Maue being elected sheriff last year, he had been a detective on the case, under sheriff Mike Kreke and chief deputy Mark Etter.
“I had worked on the case a little bit (then) and had performed searches in the area,” Maue said. “Right now, it’s still an ongoing case.”
On the morning of July 2, 2011, Hanna left his sister’s house in Jerseyville and then apparently stopped at a convenience store to purchase a soda. The store’s surveillance footage shows Hanna purchasing a soda at 11:45 a.m. that day and walking out the door. In fact, cellphone records that day show that his cellphone “pinged” from a cell tower around 12:15 p.m. in East Alton and then near Centralia after that.
After July 3, there were no more pings or phone records.
Hanna has been missing since July 3, 2011, when his vehicle ran out of gas along Jolliff Bridge Road, on the Clinton County side, in Centralia. His vehicle was found abandoned the day before.
There was a positive sighting identifying Hanna on Sunday, July 3, 2011, at 8:30 or 8:40 a.m., when he was last seen walking and at a home on College Road in Centralia, near where his vehicle was, where he asked a person for directions.
A Trenton man has been indicted by a Clinton County grand jury on charges related to a shooting and armed robbery that occurred in late April in Aviston. James R. Blair, 21, of North Maple Street in Trenton, was indicted with seven charges in connection to the armed robbery and shooting.
According to the indictment, filed on June 22, Blair has been charged with one count of armed robbery and one count of aggravated battery, both Class X felonies, two counts of Class 1 felony attempted (aggravated battery), one count of aggravated assault, a Class 4 felony, and two counts of reckless conduct, both Class A misdemeanors.
On April 25 Blair allegedly took approximately $400 in cash and designer jeans by use of force and during the commission, discharged a firearm, shooting a 27-year-old man in the leg. In addition, he performed a substantial step toward the commission of aggravated battery by pointing a firearm at two other people, pulling the trigger on said firearm with the intent to cause injury to the two other people.
On April 25 at about 5:40 a.m., the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department took a 911 call reporting an armed robbery and shooting that occurred at a residence on South Hull Street in Aviston.
Police officers from Aviston, Trenton, New Baden and Breese responded to the scene. Illinois State Police also initially responded to the area.
It was reported that a 27-year-old male was found with a gunshot wound to his lower leg. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese with non-life threatening injuries.
Blair had been previously charged with unlawful possession of cannabis of more than 30 grams with the intent to deliver, a Class 3 felony, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony, for allegedly possessing Oxycodone on April 25.
That case is still ongoing, with a motion hearing to be held on July 2.
Regarding the armed robbery case, bail has been set at $200,000. Public defender Stewart Freeman was appointed to represent Blair. He has since pleaded not guilty. Blair is scheduled to appear in court on July 8 at 9 a.m.
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