Following a stipulated bench trial in White County Circuit Court this afternoon, 36 year old Danny Coston of rural Carmi was found guilty of charges related to the August, 2012 slaying of Jacob Wheeler, 22 of Centerville and Wheeler’s girlfriend, Jessi Evans, 17 of Norris City. The state has recommended a 20 year sentence in the Evans slaying, plus another 25 years for aggravating factors in the first degree murder case. The state recommends a four year sentence in the second degree murder of Jacob Wheeler and another four years for aggravated criminal sexual assault for the sexual assault of Jessi Evans. If the judge approves the recommended sentences, Coston would serve all of the sentences consecutively for a total of 53 years behind bars. Formal sentencing has been set for Sept. 17 in White County Circuit Court at Carmi. Coston remains in the White County jail at Carmi.
25-year-old former Carmi resident, Thomas Matthew Davidson, made his first appearance in White County Circuit Court in Carmi this morning. Davidson faces four charges of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Susan K. Burkhardt of Poseyville, IN. Her body was found Saturday night in a cornfield west of Crossville following an aerial search by Indiana and Illinois state police, along with other area agencies. An autopsy performed on Burkhardt’s body Sunday by White County Coroner Chris Marsh indicated that the initial cause of death was four gunshot wounds. WFIW News was told this morning that Davidson was unruly during his court appearance this morning, resulting in the judge being unable to complete the first advisement of charges process. Bond on Davidson was set at two million dollars.
40-year-old Roger D. Groves of Geff was jailed Saturday night on drug charges following a vehicle stop in Fairfield for a non-working registration light. After Groves exited his vehicle, police said they noted the presence of drug paraphernalia which later field-tested positive for cannibis. Groves was charged with possession of cannibis and drug paraphernalia and lodged in the Wayne County Jail, with bond set at $150 cash.
21-year-old Jered I Greathouse of Mt. Erie was jailed Friday night after a vehicle stop on county highway 16 near county road 2800E. A deputy noted the vehicle approaching a hill across the centerline, and stated he noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from Greathouse’s vehicle after the vehicle stop, with Greathouse admitting that he had allegedly been drinking earlier in the day. He blew a .154 on a breathalyzer test, and later blew a .109 at the county jail. He was charged with DUI and cited for improper lane usage.
33-year-old Phyllis Shaw of Fairfield was jailed Friday afternoon on a domestic battery charge. Shaw allegedly hit her husband, 33-year-old Michael A. Shaw twice in the face at their home at 405 NW 9th Street. Phyllis Shaw was lodged in the Wayne County Jail pending a court appearance and setting of bond.
45-year-old William D. Boles of Fairfield was jailed Sunday afternoon on a domestic battery charge. Boles allegedly hit his wife, 38-year-old Eva M. Boles, in the mouth with his fist at their home at 611 Spring Street. William D. Boles was lodged in the Wayne County Jail pending a court appearance and setting of bond.
Edwards County real estate tax bills are scheduled to be mailed out this week. Treasurer Cindy Hocking says the due dates have been set for Wednesday, September 25th and Monday, October 28th. This year’s extension amounts to just over $5.11 million, an increase of about $252,000 from last year. Payments can be made in person, by mail, or by using the drop box on the northeast side of the Edwards County Courthouse in Albion.
23-year-old Ronnie J. Stroud of Valier, IL died early Saturday morning when the vehicle he was driving went off Illinois Route 148 near East Flagg Road in Jefferson County and overturned, coming to rest down an embankment. Police said Stroud was not wearing his seat belt, and that excessive speed likely contributed to the crash. Toxicology results are pending.