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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Coroner inquest rules Cahokia man's death homicide

Friday, 18 October 2013 03:18 Published in Local News

   EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The beating death of Cahokia man whose body was found in an Illinois state park has been ruled a homicide due to blunt force trauma.

   The Telegraph in Alton reports that a Madison County coroner's inquest made the ruling Wednesday. The victim was 20 year old Dakota Jones. Three fishermen found his body in Aug. 11 in the water near a boat launch ramp at Horseshoe Lake State Park.

   Coroner Steve Nonn testified to the coroner's jury that Jones had evidence of severe head injury and his body "appeared to have been thrown."

   A man paroled after prison time for killing an elderly woman in 1989 is accused in the death. Forty-one year old Scott Thompson of Centreville is charged with first-degree murder.

 

3 guilty in Madison Co. property tax auction scam

Friday, 18 October 2013 03:14 Published in Local News

   Three men who admit conspiring with ex-Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon to rig property tax auctions are free as they await sentencing.  

   John Vassen, Scott McLean and Barratt Rochman each pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to violating the Sherman Anti-trust Act.  The three men orchestrated a multi-year "pay-for-play" scam that cheated more than 10,000 property owners out of about $2 million in excessive interest and penalty payments.  

   Bathon had pleaded guilty in February to rigging tax lien auctions between 2005 and 2008 to benefit his political donors.

   U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams set the sentencing hearing for Vassen, McLean and Rochman for Feb. 21.

   A group of north county residents want their neighbors near the West Lake Landfill to put more pressure on elected leaders to clean up the site.  About 100 people attended a public meeting Thursday night hosted by the West Lake Landfill Community Group and Missouri Coalition for the Environment.  

   MCE's Ed Smith told the group that the current fire smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill isn't the first to threaten the radioactive site.  "There was a landfill fire in the early 90s closer to the radioactive wastes than the current landfill fire," he said.

   That's why the groups say plans to build a barrier between the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill and West Lake isn't enough.  They want local leaders to put pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the soil, as they're doing at other radioactive waste sites.

   Missouri State Representative Bill Otto was among the political leaders who attended last night's meeting.  He told Fox 2 News that EPA work on the barrier project that had stopped because of the government shutdown is back on track.  "They're getting back in the office," he said.  "And getting ready to resume the work that they had started or were tasked to do with the landfill."

  Bridgeton Landfill LLC released the following statement:  "We're eager to resume work with  the EPA in conjunction with state agencies to begin the next stage of the construction."

  Pattonville Fire officials along with St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger and representatives from County Executive Charlie Dooley's office also attended the meeting.

   Organizers are calling on residents to note odor issues and contact their local politicians to make a change.

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