Jacksonville Man Busts Out of Jail After Battery Arrest Apprehended

Information has been released about a prisoner escape and property damage at the Morgan County Jail from Saturday.

Jacksonville Police were called to the West Morgan Depot at 1:04AM Saturday to a report of multiple fights in progress inside the bar. Upon arrival, police arrested 21 year old Daveon L. Mapes and 28 year old Kaliya N. Mapes of the 1000 block of East Morton Avenue for battery after allegedly striking a bouncer inside the bar.

Kaliya Mapes later was able to post bond and be released.

According to the Journal Courier, Daveon Mapes was placed inside one of the Morgan County Jail’s visitation booths during booking. Although the glass is bulletproof inside the booths, Mapes was able to tear out the trim around the glass at approximately Noon on Saturday and free himself. Mapes then was able to bust out the glass on the front door entrance of the jail and proceeded to escape.

Mapes was able to be taken back into custody approximately 8 minutes later a few short blocks away by Jacksonville Police who located him in front of the Jacksonville Public Library on West College Avenue.

In addition to the battery charge, Mapes now faces a felony charge of criminal damage to government property and a misdemeanor charge of escape.

Morgan County Sheriff Mike Carmody told the Journal Courier that damage to the jail was approximately $6,000.

After a hearing yesterday, bond had been set for Mapes at $20,000 with 10% to apply. He is next due in court on February 8th. As of yesterday afternoon, Mapes remains lodged at the Morgan County Jail.

Hadden Selected As LLCC Student Trustee

A Jacksonville college student has been named to Lincoln Land Community College’s student trustee position.

Meghan Hadden was recently sworn in for the one-year term as student trustee for the college. She serves alongside the seven elected board members who represent residents of the college district and set policy to assure LLCC is meeting their educational needs.

According to The Source, Hadden is well-known for success in the ag community in the Jacksonville area. While at Jacksonville High School, she served as president of FFA. At the 2021 Illinois State Fair, Hadden’s heifer won her class and division in the angus show and was third overall at the Showtimes Western Illinois District Show.

After graduating from LLCC, Hadden plans to transfer to the University of Illinois or University of Kansas to earn a bachelor’s degree, with hopes of becoming an agriculture educator.

Student trustees serve a one-year term and serve as a liaison between the board and the Student Government Association and the student body at the college in an advisory role to the college’s Board of Trustees.

New Bill Would Lower IL Home Alone Age For Juveniles to 12

A new Illinois law filed last month would lower the age a child can stay at home alone without parents being arrested for negligence.

Under current law, a child must be 14 before they can be left home alone by a parent or guardian. House Bill 4305 filed by 96th District Democrat Sue Scherer of Decatur would lower that age down to 12.

Scherer told the Center Square that she has had constituents in her district reach out to her about lowering the age because it is causing stress on working families with childcare costs and scheduling. Parents who currently leave their child alone under the age of 14 are subject to child abandonment charges, a Class 4 felony. A sentence could vary between probation and three years in prison, plus a $25,000 fine.

The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Criminal Subcommittee. Scherer told the Center Square that she expects the bill to pass next month when the General Assembly returns to session.

Finlaw Murder Trial Begins Tomorrow in Morgan County

The first murder trial of the year in Morgan County is set to begin tomorrow with jury selection.

22 year old Dustin A. Finlaw will be defending himself against a host of charges, including first degree murder in front of visiting Sangamon County Judge Jack Davis III. Today, was the final pre-trial conference between Finlaw and the state to agree on statement of case and logistics for the trial.

Finlaw is accused of stabbing to death 42 year old Robert L. Utter in Meredosia in May 2018.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll says that getting the logistics finalized today on the arrangement of the courtroom and jury selection is a step to getting the trial completed in a timely fashion: “Having a jury trial in the age of Covid is a difficult thing to figure out. First and foremost, when we are calling in the jury, we want to make sure that they are safe. The best way to do that during today’s day and time is to socially distance them from not only the witnesses and the parties, but their fellow jurors as well. So, the set up of the courtroom looks a little different than it has for any other criminal jury trial that has proceeded here in Morgan County, but it is the best way we can ensure the safety of the jurors.”

During finalizing of the logistics, Finlaw placed an objection to having any media in the courtroom during the 5-day duration of the trial. Finlaw says that social media and public opinion will give rise to a false narrative and deny him the right to a fair trial. Judge Davis denied the motion to not allow any media in the courtroom, but has placed restrictions on video cameras and recording the trial.

Noll says there is plenty of court precedent that allows media to have access to a public jury trial of any kind: “Certainly there is a lot of case law and history about the media’s right to cover court that is an open proceeding, and an adult criminal jury trial is definitely open to the public and to the media.”

Jury selection is slated to begin at 10AM tomorrow, with opening statements slated for first thing Wednesday morning.

More Information on Martin Arrest in Knox County Released

WLDS News reported this afternoon the arrest of Abigail L. Martin in Knox County on two new charges for theft and deceptive practice.

WGIL in Galesburg reports that Galesburg Police on Wednesday, January 12th responded to Galesburg Nissan on North Henderson Street for a complaint of fraud. Officers met with management at the dealership who said that 25 year old Abigail Angulo of Galesburg had written a check for a 2021 Nissan Rogue SUV on January 6th that did not clear. The check was in the amount of $37,895.

The report says that Galesburg Police later responded to 300 block of East Grove Street in Galesburg where Angulo was taken into custody. Officers say that Angulo refused to answer any questions and was booked into the Knox County Jail.

After an investigation, police discovered that Angulo, formerly known as Abigail L. Martain of Waverly, had a lengthy criminal history in multiple counties dating back to 2019. Angulo/Martin has 6 outstanding forgery charges and a single count of writing bad checks to obtain property from a previous case in Knox County.

She is currently being held on $100,000 bond with 10% apply at the Knox County Jail. Her first appearance in court has been set for Monday, January 31st.

Martin Arrested in Knox County Under New Name

A woman wanted on several charges across 5 counties in West Central Illinois has now been arrested in a 6th county on new charges over the weekend.

25 year old Abigail L. Martin was arrested in Knox County this weekend on new charges of theft by deceptive practice and forgery. She remains held at the Knox County Jail awaiting a first appearance in court. Martin was booked into the jail on Saturday under the name Abigail Angelo.

Martin has missed all of her court dates in Madison, Greene, Montgomery, Morgan, and Fulton counties over the last month and has had bench warrants issued. Her charges in those counties range from practicing as a nurse without a license, identify theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, theft, and deceptive practice.

Martin’s alleged spree of crime in Illinois dates back almost three years. She also has outstanding, non-extraditable offenses in North and South Carolina.

Martin’s first appearance in Knox County court is later today.

Two Join JMH Board

A local banker and a well-known business owner have joined the Jacksonville Memorial Hospital board of directors.

Kim Andras, a commercial/agriculture loan officer at CNB Bank & Trust in Chapin, and Saif Mouilish, founder and CEO of SafeCo group, best known locally for its donut shop and bakery, were recently elected to serve four-year terms on the nonprofit hospital’s board.

Andras serves on the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce board and the University of Illinois Extension Council. She lives with her family on a cattle farm in Manchester.

Mouilish operates SafeCo group, which oversees the SafeCo Donuts and Bakery brand, the Old Fashioned Delights brand and the Trolley Stop brand. Mouilish lives in Jacksonville with his family.

Mouilish replaces retiring board member Nancy Spangenberg, who served 12 years on the board. Andras fills the seat vacated by Greg Lepper, who served for a decade.

UIS Senate Considers Removal of Diversity, Equity Curriculum Requirement for Graduation

The University of Illinois Springfield’s graduation requirements may be undergoing a serious change.

According to a press release on Friday from the campus General Education Review Committee, a number of faculty and administration have proposed resolutions to the UIS Senate that would cut or even all together eliminate the graduation requirements of the campus’ Engaged Citizenship Common Experience curriculum, known as ECCE.

The ECCE program has been at UIS for over a decade, and according to the campus’ website, provides students with internships and classes that include information on racial diversity, engaged citizenship, gender identity, and the history of social changes. Students must complete a minimum of 9 hours of coursework in the program to graduate.

Associate Professor of History at UIS and a member of the campus’ General Education Review Committee Kristi Barnwell says that the committee spent two years researching the campus’ general education requirements and unanimously approved continuing it with some changes and modifications. She says its an important piece to creating a well-rounded student at UIS: “Eliminating the ECCE Program at UIS would deeply undermine the value of an education that students at UIS receive. It would eliminate crucial elements of our curriculum that provide our students with the tools they need to be engaged citizens in a global world.”

Barnwell says that college curriculum needs to shift with the current demographics and the times to stay relevant and create graduates that are ready for a diverse and changing workforce and world: “The reality is that the demographics in the Springfield area and that the demographics in Illinois are changing. The demographics in the United States are changing. For our students who are coming to UIS for an education that’s going to prepare them for the future, to interact with other people, to interact with other cultures – students need to engage in serious classwork that prepares them to have those conversations and to bring their concerns to the communities that they live in.”

Professor of History, Peter Shapinsky says, “This resolution to eliminate UIS’s innovative diversity course requirements misrepresents more than a decade of hard work by faculty and dismisses the successes of our students. [The resolution] is unbecoming of an institution of higher education; it makes a mockery of our work to build a public liberal arts university that enshrines equality, social justice, and diversity as core values. It will deny our students important local and global experiences.”

Campus Senator and Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Ryan Williams, teaches the ECCE course: ‘Policing in America’ questions what kind of message the resolution will send to students: “This [past] week [was] of MLK, Jr. Remembrance. We are on the eve of Black History Month–at the height of a pandemic that has only furthered structural inequalities. An attempt to eliminate established curriculum focused on central issues of social class, race, ethnicity, and gender is not the legacy we want to leave for our students at this specific time in history.”

The UIS Senate voted to remove the resolution from the agenda on Friday morning. A first reading of a proposal to modify the ECCE requirement was heard. More discussion on the ECCE Program and its requirements are likely to be taken up at the UIS Senate at their next meeting on Friday, February 4th.

Ashland Hit With Rash of Suspicious Activity

The Village of Ashland is asking residents of the village to be aware of a rash of suspicious behavior.

The Journal Courier reports that Mayor Kitty Mau is asking residents of Ashland to lock their doors and vehicles, not just at night.

Mau said in a notice sent to residents that she suspects juveniles may be behind attempted break-ins into homes and vehicles in recent weeks.

The Journal Courier reports that many village of Ashland residents feel that the village needs more police on patrol to deter the incidents. There has been recent turnover in the village police, as Martin Fanning was recently named as the village’s new police chief. Fanning replaced Jim Birdsell who retired in December.

Residents concerned or witnessing any of the suspicious activity or may have more information should contact Cass County Dispatch or the Cass County Sheriff’s Department at 217-452-7718. Anonymous tips may also be left online at or by calling the Morgan-Scott-Cass Crime Stoppers at 217-243-7300.

Mt. Sterling Man Identified As Victim of Fatal Car Crash Near Liberty on Thursday

The Adams County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fatal crash that killed a Mt. Sterling man on Thursday near Liberty.

Adams County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a single vehicle rollover crash on North 1200th, east of East 2353rd on the Kellerville Blacktop near Five Points just northeast of Liberty around 5PM on Thursday.

KHQA reports that Adams County Coroner Scott Graham has identified the driver as 41 year old Terry M. Lierly of Mt. Sterling.

WGEM in Quincy says that details of what led up to the crash are still being investigated.