A Jacksonville man will serve almost a decade in prison for performing a sex act on a young girl.
Thirty-one-year-old Russel Ponder of the 8-hundred block of Illinois was sentenced to ten years in the Illinois Department of Corrections this morning in Morgan County Court after pleading guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault.
Ponder must serve 85 percent of the sentence and then be placed on three years to natural life of Mandatory Supervised Release. He received credit for 114 days in jail, where he’s been since his July arrest.
Morgan County State’s Attorney Bobby Bonjean noted during the proceeding that the victim’s father, who, along with other family members, was in attendance, did not sign off on the plea deal, and would not be satisfied with anything less than the maximum sentence for Ponder.
“It rips at your heartstrings when a child’s involved. So, you look at what other cases have been similar. Shortly after I became state’s attorney, we had a similar case, a gentleman with no criminal history- he might have had a little criminal history- in Mr. Ponder’s case, he had no criminal history, so that’s where I came with the ten years,” Bonjean says.
“With it being 85 percent, that kind of imposes a lot more time in the Department of Corrections, but I certainly took into consideration and can understand the sentiment of the victim’s father. He wanted nothing less than for him to serve forever- probably, the max was not even enough, based on the reality of our conversation, was he wanted more than the max, he wanted to see him spend the rest of his life in prison,” he continues.
Ponder is alleged to have committed the sex act with the girl, who was only described as being under 13 years old, in June of this year.
Ponder was also fined $330.