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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A judge in southwestern Illinois has sentenced a man to 47 years in prison for beating to death his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 24-year-old Julian Gates told the St. Clair County judge Friday that he "snapped" when the girl urinated in her bed.

Gates, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, told investigators he beat Mia Caito with a belt, his hand and an extension cord.

Investigators say the girl was covered "head to toe" in bruises and died of blunt force trauma in the January 2012 assault.

In a victim impact statement, the girl's mother, Brandy Johnson, told the court the little girl loved hugs and kisses, wearing her hair in a ponytail and watching "Dora the Explorer."

Published in Local News

STEELVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri judge has found probable cause for the second-degree murder trial of 59-year-old James Crocker, accused of killing a man on a float trip who stopped on or near Crocker's property.

Crocker, of Steelville, is charged in the death of 48-year-old Paul Dart Jr. Crawford County Associate Circuit Judge Scott Bernstein heard more than an hour of testimony Friday before ruling the case should move forward.

The shooting happened in July after Crocker spotted people from a Meramec River float trip party on a gravel bar that Crocker considered part of his property. Dart was shot in the face during the confrontation.

Defense attorney Michael Bert says Crocker was protecting himself and his property, and felt threatened by rock-wielding members of the float party.

 

Published in Local News

Authorities are asking for help to find a man who is facing charges connected to a double shooting late Wednesday night.

Around 11:30PM, Rico Combs allegedly entered the apartment where his three children lived with their mother, and opened fire. Police say he killed one man and shot another--leaving him in critical condition. Court documents say Combs hit the mother with his gun in front of the kids, who are 3, 5 and 7 years old.

Police ask anyone with information on Combs' whereabouts to call the CrimeStoppers at 866.371.TIPS.

 

Published in Local News

Police have identified the suspect in custody connected to the murder of a gas station owner.

Police say 28-year-old Justin Williams admitted to shooting Irshad Kahn over the weekend. Williams was captured on surveillance video, but police could not find him.

After the footage was released to the press police say they received over a dozen tips that led them to Williams. He was staying at a house in St. Louis city.

Williams is charged with first degree murder, armed criminal actions, and two other felonies. He is held on $1 million bond. 

Published in Local News

The search is over for a teen involved in a fatal shooting Monday morning.

A 15-year-old suspect has been charged with second degree murder. Police say the suspect was with 19-year-old Akeem Mayes when the two knocked on the door of a home in the Country Club Hill neighborhood and got involved in an altercation. At some point gunfire was exchanged and Mayes was killed.

Police have not released the identity of the suspect, but he was transferred to St. Louis County Family Court.

Published in Local News

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) -- Authorities issued charges against an East St. Louis man for the death of a Cahokia man who was found in an Illinois state park lake on Sunday.

Scott L Thompson, 42, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the death of 20-year-old Dakota Jones.

Illinois State Police say Jones’ body was found Sunday morning in the water near a boat launch ramp at Horseshoe Lake State Park near Pontoon Beach.

Authorities say Jones died of blunt force trauma, and evidence at the scene indicates the case was a homicide.

Illinois State Police Capt. Jim Morrissey says Jones had been dead less than 24 hours when his body was found.

Thompson was taken into custody on Sunday and remains in police custody with no bond.

 

Published in Local News

A recent study shows that people are more sympathetic to an abused animal than an abused person.

The study was released by LiveScience. The researchers presented subjects with news articles featuring an abused adult, infant, puppy, or adult dog. Puppies, adult dogs, and infants were all viewed as defenseless by participants. 

Published in Local News

St. Louis County police have identified the teenager shot and killed during a disturbance at a home Monday morning.

The resident was home in the 57-hundred block of Eagle Drive with his fiance when he answered a knock at the door.  Nineteen year old Akeem Mayes of St. Louis city, and an unidentified man, then became involved in an argument with the resident. In an exchange of gunfire, Mayes was killed.

A search for the second subject is ongoing. 

Published in Local News

   Police believe a man shot to death in the St. Clair County Courthouse Monday afternoon took his own life.  

   St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson says it happened on the fourth floor of the parking garage about 4:30 p.m.  

   Police haven't released the man's name pending notification of family, but say he was 25-30 years old and had addresses in both Belleville and Caseyville, Illinois.  

   Watson says the man had not gone to the courthouse but to the probation office on the other side of the garage.

   Sheriff's deputies and Belleville police had initially closed down the garage thinking there might be a gunman still lurking.  It reopened about an hour later.

Published in Local News

BOSTON (AP) - Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger has been convicted in a string of 11 killings and other underworld crimes.

The 83-year-old Bulger faces life in prison after being convicted Monday of committing or playing a role in the killings during the 1970s and '80s while he led the Winter Hill Gang, Boston's Irish mob.

Bulger was one of the nation's most-wanted fugitives after he fled Boston ahead of a 1994 indictment. He was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.

He is accused of shooting or strangling some of the victims himself. In other cases, he allegedly ordered the slayings or participated in some other way.

Published in National News

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