Witnesses describe events before Sandwich shooting

On June 19th, 2019 by admin

SYCAMORE – Eric Peterson of DeKalb told a DeKalb County jury Tuesday that he had no recollection of what happened the moment he was shot in the face. On the first day of testimony from witnesses Tuesday, jurors in the trial of an attempted murder in Sandwich heard of an evening gone bad. Peterson, 25, testified that he did remember parts of the evening of July 2, 2017. He went to a friend's new home in Sandwich to help him and his fiancée move in. Areas of his life before that night are hazy as well. Prosecutors say the evening ended with Carl Russell, 45, who lived in the home next door, shooting Peterson in the face in the driveway at his friend's home in the 1100 block of Lillian Lane. Prosecutors say Russell was enraged after Peterson had confronted him over Russell making a pass at his girlfriend that evening. Russell's trial on charges of attempted first-degree murder completed its second day on Tuesday, with witnesses describing a party where Russell was being inappropriate and asked to leave, before the confrontation between Russell and Peterson. Russell could face life in prison if convicted. The attack left Peterson, a father of a 2-year-old girl, paralyzed on his left side. He now uses a motorized wheelchair and has a glass eye. His memories of the period are not very clear, he said. When First Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Klein asked him if he lived with his girlfriend before, he responded...

First National Bank taking grant requests

On June 18th, 2019 by admin

First National Bank is accepting proposals for its upcoming Community Development grant cycle, focused on programs related to educated workforce initiatives. The second 2019 grant cycle opened June 3 for educated workforce programs, which are dedicated to strengthening individual core competencies that will improve personal economic self-sufficiency, including adult basic education and vocational and employability training. Programs must be implemented for the benefit of low- or moderate-income individuals, families and/or communities within the First National Bank footprint. The bank operates in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas. First National Bank will accept applications from eligible nonprofit community organizations until July 8. For more information and to apply, visit www.fnbo.com/community.  ...

Sheriff's office again warns of phone scam

On June 18th, 2019 by admin

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office is warning residents for the third time this year of a phone scam that includes people pretending to be from the sheriff's office seeking money. The caller appears on caller I.D. as an actual sheriff's administration line, 815-895-7260. The caller pretends to be a deputy seeking an urgent call back or money or payment for missing jury duty, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. If no one answers the call, the scammer will leave a call back number not associated with the sheriff's office, the release said, and will answer the number if called. According to the release, the sheriff's office received at least three reports from residents claiming to have encountered the phone scam Friday. Investigators are following up on the reports, the release states. The sheriff's office is reminding residents that it will never call anyone soliciting money or fees for missed jury duty or other situations, and all calls of that nature should be considered fraudulent. If anyone has encountered the scam or situations like it, they are urged to call the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office at 815-895-2155. The release also included tips on how to recognize a phone scam: Never give into high pressure phone tactics; insist on having information regarding solicitation of money over the phone mailed to your address for review; do not give out personal or financial information on the phone; do not agree to meet anywhere to transfer money. People are urged to...

Sandwich man's trial on attempted 1st-degree murder charges begins

On June 18th, 2019 by admin

SYCAMORE – The trial of a Sandwich man charged with attempted murder began Monday, with jury selection and opening statements. Carl Russell, 45, of the 1100 block of Lillian Lane, was charged in July 2017 with attempted murder after police said he admitted to shooting Eric Peterson of Plano in the face. Peterson most likely is paralyzed for life, his family has said. Attorney Brian Wright, representing Russell at trial, said the case is not a “whodunit,” and they don’t dispute that Russell shot Peterson in the face that night. But he said he and prosecutors differ on why. During jury selection Monday, defense attorneys Wright and Regina Harris asked potential jurors if they felt someone had the right to defend themselves. During his opening statement, Wright said that Peterson was doing just that. “He was trying to protect himself and his home,” Wright said. First Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein argued in her opening statement that Russell shot Peterson at the end of an evening of escalating confrontation. What began as a housewarming party at a duplex that shared a driveway and wall with Russell’s residence became tense after Russell made statements to make women at the party uncomfortable. Both the prosecution and defense said people at the party had accused Peterson of not defending his girlfriend, Lorena Melendez, before he went out to talk to Russell. Although they disagreed on the circumstance, both the prosecution and defense agreed that Russell ended up shooting Peterson in the right...

Body found in Genoa identified as missing teen

On June 18th, 2019 by admin

GENOA – A man’s body found Friday in a farm field west of Ellwood Greens has been identified as a Genoa teenager missing since March 8, according to a news release from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. Joseph A. Maynard, 19, of the 31000 block of Daniels Drive was found by a farmer Friday morning and was pronounced dead at the scene by sheriff’s deputies. When reached for comment, Maynard’s mother, Nancy Maynard, declined. Maynard’s body was located a half mile from his residence on Daniels Drive, according to the release. The coroner conducted an autopsy Monday, which revealed the cause of death was exposure. DeKalb County Coroner Denny Miller said Monday the case still is under investigation. Further toxicology testing will be done, the report said. There were no visible signs of injury to Maynard’s body, and sheriff’s deputies do not suspect foul play. Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Andy Sullivan said Monday that it’s a sad day for all involved. He said although Maynard’s body was located half a mile from his residence, multiple searches made when he went missing did not uncover his body. “We did search the area, but this place was not accessible to us at the time,” Sullivan said Monday. “At the time, we had a lot of rain and a lot of melting, so at that point we weren’t able to search this area specifically. There were multiple searches done with K-9s, drone devices, and on foot.” Sullivan said there’s no indication...

Sandwich man's attempted murder trial begins

On June 17th, 2019 by admin

SYCAMORE – The trial of a Sandwich man charged with attempted murder began Monday, with jury selection and opening statements. Carl Russell, 45, of the 1100 block of Lillian Lane, was charged in July 2017 with attempted murder after police said he admitted he shot Plano man Eric Peterson in the face. Peterson is most likely paralyzed for life, his family has said. Attorney Brian Wright, representing Russell in his trial, said the case is not a "whodunit," and they don't dispute that Russell shot Peterson in the face that night. But he said he and prosecutors differ on why. During jury selection Monday, defense attorneys Wright and Regina Harris asked potential jurors if they felt someone had the right to defend themselves. During his opening statement, Wright said that Peterson was doing just that. "He was trying to protect himself and his home," Wright said. First Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Klein argued in her opening statement that Russell shot Peterson at the end of an evening of escalating confrontation. What began as a housewarming party at a duplex that shared a driveway and wall with Russell's residence became tense after Russell made statements to make women at the party uncomfortable. Both prosecution and defense said people at the party had accused Peterson of not defending his girlfriend, Lorena Melendez, before he went out to talk to Russell. Though they disagreed on the circumstance, both prosecution and defense agreed that Russell ended up shooting Peterson in the right eye....

BREAKING: Body found in Genoa identified as missing teen

On June 17th, 2019 by admin

GENOA – A Genoa man found in a farm field west of Ellwood Greens Friday has been identified by the DeKalb County Coroner, according to a news release from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office. Joseph A. Maynard, 19, of the 31000 block of Daniels Drive, who was reported missing since March 8, was found by a farmer Friday morning, and was pronounced dead on the scene by sheriff's deputies. Maynard's body was located a half mile from his residence on Daniels Drive, the release states. The coroner conducted an autopsy Monday, which revealed the cause of death was due to exposure. Further toxicology testing will be done, the report states. There were no visible signs of injury to Maynard's body, and Sheriff's deputies suspect no foul play. This story will be updated. ...

Ottawa 19-year-old who asked police to shoot him at gas station is charged

On June 15th, 2019 by admin

OTTAWA – A La Salle County judge set bond at $20,000 Friday for a 19-year-old Ottawa man who police say tried to goad them into shooting him before shooting himself in the head with a BB gun. Nicholas Bantista, 19, is charged with aggravated assault of a peace officer in connection with the incident. If found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years or up to a $25,000 fine. Police said Bantista brandished a weapon at officers June 5 in Leland in hopes police would kill him. Leland police were called about 11 p.m. to a Casey's gas station in the 100 block of North Main Street for a report of a man with a gun. Upon arrival, officers encountered Bantista, who pointed the weapon at them and threatened to kill himself, Leland Police Chief Jason Bragg has said. A brief standoff between the man and officers ensued, before police subdued him and took him into custody. Bragg said Bantista repeatedly asked police to shoot him before using his own weapon, which turned out to be a BB gun, to shoot himself multiple times in the head. Bantista was hospitalized at Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital in Sandwich with multiple head wounds. He was arrested Thursday after La Salle County prosecutors decided to charge him. Bantista would have to post $2,000 cash to be released. He remained in the La Salle County Jail on Friday. He was appointed a public defender. ...

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