Headlines for Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Probable cause has been found to place a former foster parent from Shawneetown on trial for sexual assault in both Hamilton and Saline Counties. 62-year-old Rickie R. Horton appeared in Hamilton County Circuit Court in McLeansboro for a preliminary hearing. After hearing testimony from investigators, a judge ruled there was probable cause to bind Horton over to trial on five Class-X felony charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child In Saline County, the judge also found probable cause to bind Horton over to trial on six Class-X felony charges of criminal sexual assault of a child. If convicted, Horton faces up to 60 years in prison in each count. Because of the number of alleged victims in the case, Horton would be eligible for a special sentencing range of 6-60 years in prison with up to a natural life term of mandatory supervised release.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says a $1 billion tax cut should be the top priority for this year’s legislative session. The Republican said Wednesday it could be achieved by changing the way pensions are doled out to state employees. But the pension changes are contentious and experts question whether a court would find it constitutional. Rauner’s fourth budget address included his promised plan for a phased-in cut in last year’s income-tax increase. Lawmakers increased the rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent to help pay down the state’s massive deficit. Rauner vetoed it but it was enacted anyway. Rauner says enacting pension changes would mean “a nearly $1 billion tax cut” that would allow him to “start rolling back” the rate hike.

A psychiatrist says an Illinois teenager accused in a high school shooting that injured one student in September suffers from a defiance disorder and other conditions for which he can’t be treated at the state’s Juvenile Justice Department. A judge approved an evaluation by a state agency for the 15-year-old. But Judge Matt Sullivan said the teen will remain in the custody of the Juvenile Justice Department and won’t be moved to the Department of Human Services for possible placement in a treatment facility. The teen is charged with aggravated battery with a firearm in the Sept. 20 shooting at Mattoon High School. Psychiatrist Lawrence Jeckel testified that the boy was motivated in part by “perceived bullying” but also acts as a bully himself.