Sexual assault charges have been dismissed after a Centralia man pleaded guilty to a downgraded charge of battery last Thursday in Clinton County Circuit Court. Zackary Schilling, 19, appeared in court Jan. 28 along with his attorneys, Steve Quinn and Tim Huyett.
Schilling had been initially charged in December 2014 with three counts of Class 1 felony sexual assault by use of force to the female victim.
According to court documents, Schilling was charged Dec. 15, 2014, with committing three different sex acts against the victim’s will while in a vehicle in the early morning hours of Dec. 14, 2014, in Clinton County.
The incident was reported to sheriff’s deputies when the victim showed up later that day at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese for treatment.
Schilling, who is out on bond, was to go before a judge for a bench trial last week, however, during a court appearance last Thursday, Jan. 28, the three charges were dismissed and a new charge, a Class A misdemeanor battery, was filed against Schilling regarding the December 2014 incident.
The new charge states that Schilling allegedly made physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature to Jane Doe, in that he touched her vagina with his finger and touched her mouth and vagina with his penis.
Schilling plead guilty to the new charge and was sentenced to 36 days in the Clinton County Jail, with credit for time already served. In addition, he was fined $500 plus court costs and placed on two years probation. He was also ordered to not have contact with the victim.
A co-defendant in the case, Jacob Kriegel, 21, of Aviston previously pleaded guilty Jan. 12 to a downgraded charge of battery, a Class A misdemeanor, for his role in the case.
Kriegel was also initially charged in December 2014 with three counts of Class 1 felony criminal sexual assault by use of force for allegedly sexually assaulting a female on a back road in Clinton County. However, supplemental charges filed Dec. 12 stated that Kriegel allegedly committed the offense of battery when he knowingly made physical contact of an insulting nature with a female victim.
The Class 1 felony counts in Kriegel’s case were also dismissed.
Kriegel was sentenced to 46 days in the Clinton County Jail, with credit for time served, and placed on two years probation. He was ordered not to have contact with the victim and was to abstain from drugs and/or alcohol.
The Breese City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to proceed with razing the former Meissner home, located east of City Hall at 557 North Broadway Street. The council purchased the home and property of the late Anna “Dorothy” Meissner last August for $60,000.
Immediate plans for the property are not definite; however, Mayor Charlie Hilmes said the property is beneficial to the city in terms of future growth.
“As of right now, we have no plans for it, but we feel that with the property being next door to City Hall, the ground is valuable to the city for future expansion or development,” Hilmes said.
The historic home was purchased by Dorothy and her husband, the late Robert “Bill” Meissner, in 1942; however, it was built by Henry Hummert Sr. in 1878 as a wedding gift for his daughter. Dorothy Meissner resided in the home until her death in November 2013 at the age of 99.
Hilmes said city officials have been in contact with the Breese Historical Society about the city’s plans to tear down the residence. While the home had been named a historic landmark, the historical society had no objection to razing it.
In other business, Alderman Chris Hamilton, chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee said the city has been contacted by Waste Management about renewing its contract with the city for garbage and yard waste removal for another five years. The city’s current contract with Waste Management ends later this year.
Hilmes said he would like public input before the city proceeds with the contract renewal.
“We’d like to hear from residents regarding the service Waste Management is providing,” Hilmes said. “If people are satisfied then we’ll continue working with them” Hilmes said Waste Management has proposed changing its optional yard waste service from nine months of the year to a full 12 months, and he would also like to hear from residents regarding this option.
“Having yard waste 12 months of the year would come with some additional cost so I’d like to hear from residents on that as well,” he said. Any comments on garbage and yard waste pickup should be directed to Hilmes at City Hall or residents can contact their alderman.
Public Safety Committee chairman Bill Fischer introduced the city’s new police officer Sam Lohman who was hired at the council’s Jan. 19 meeting. Fischer noted that Lohman was selected as the best candidate from 25 applicants.
The council accepted a letter of resignation from Bent Oak Golf Course manager Barb Jansen, who will be leaving the position on June 30.
“Barb has done an excellent job out there,” Hilmes said. “She’ll be working with the city when we start looking for a replacement.”
In final business, Hilmes spoke briefly about House Bill 4521, recently-filed legislation that would give the governor broad powers to manage the budget crisis using fund sweeps.
Titled the “Unbalanced Budget Response Act,” the bill would authorize the governor to establish contingency reserves of previously appropriated funds and transfer these funds to cover various spending obligations.
In short, Hilmes said, the bill would empower the governor to sweep funds, including municipal funding sources such as LGDF, sales tax revenue, Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax, video and casino gaming revenue, etc.
At this point, he said, it appears unlikely that House and Senate Democrats would agree to grant the governor such broad authority.
“The Illinois Municipal League is watching this closely,” Hilmes said. “Right now, they don’t feel it’s going to get very far, but Springfield is a unique animal.”
A Clinton County man is dead following a gyrocopter crash that occurred Monday afternoon in Marion County.
Raymond Z. Brown, 63, of Shattuc was flying a gyrocopter, a small, light, single-seater aircraft, Monday afternoon when the aircraft went down in a field near Centralia Municipal Airport.
Brown was the only person aboard the gyrocopter.
According to reports, Brown was flying the aircraft when it went down about 2:39 p.m. in a farm field just east of the airport’s main runway. The crash was reported by personnel who viewed the accident from the airport.
According to Marion County Coroner Troy Cannon, an autopsy was scheduled to be conducted on Tuesday to determine whether Brown suffered a medical condition which may have contributed to the crash, or if he died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
However, no information was available at presstime.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board also will conduct an investigation into the crash itself to determine whether mechanical issues may have caused the aircraft to lose power or control.
Those that assisted with the accident include the Centralia City Fire Department, the Centralia Fire Protection District, Centralia Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
Brown served in the United States Army during Vietnam. He was the owner of Brown’s Heating and Air Conditioning since 1996. He enjoyed camping, classic cars, caring for his animals, flying his gyroplanes, riding his motorcycle, and spending time with his family.
Brown is survived by his wife, Vickie (Crane) Brown from Shattuc; his brothers Donnie Brown of Irvington, Ronnie Brown of Indiana, John (Monica) Brown of Centralia, Mike (Evonnia) Brown of Junction City, Joe (Dana) Brown of Florida; sisters Madella (Dennis) Mullins of Junction City, Judy (Robert) Golden of Centralia, and Pam Weibley of Mt. Vernon; special friends Eugene Allen and family; and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and cousins.
Brown was preceded in death by his parents, Johnnie Howard and Pauline (Ritchie) Brown; his son Justin Brown; and brother David Brown.
Visitation for Brown will be held this Thursday, Feb. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Day Macz Funeral Home in Sandoval and one hour prior to the funeral service at Day Macz Funeral Home in Sandoval. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 at Day Macz Funeral Home in Sandoval with the Rev. Rick Atchley officiating. Interment will be in the Hillcrest Memorial Park with Military Graveside Rites by Centralia American Legion #446 and Centralia VFW #2055.
Memorials may be made to House of Hope or Sandoval United Methodist Church. Online condolences and memories of may be shared with the family at www.maczfuneralhomes.com and/or on the funeral home’s Facebook page.
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