Morgan County Court wrap, 2/17: Alderman enters plea, murder victim’s brother appears

By Gary Scott on February 17, 2015 at 1:17pm

Several key court appearances were made this morning, including one by Jacksonville alderman Adonnis Shaw.

Shaw is charged with twelve counts of forgery, and one count of theft over $500, all of which are Class 3 felonies which carry a possible 2-to-5-year prison sentence.

Shaw has not attended any city council meetings since his arrest on January 12th; various attempts to contact him by our radio station have been unsuccessful. We were able to catch up with Shaw, who represents Ward 1, after he pleaded “not guilty” in Morgan County Court this morning.

Reporter: “Do you plan on staying on board as an alderman?”

Shaw: “That decision hasn’t been made yet.”

Reporter: “Do you plan on showing up to the next city council meeting?”

Shaw: “No, I’ve actually requested a leave of absence. There’s no statute in the Illinois Municipal Code, but [the city is] allowing me to do that.”

Reporter: “You have no comments on the charges?”

Shaw: “No comment.”

Shaw reportedly worked at Woodforest Bank inside Wal-Mart on West Morton. Police say he accessed customer accounts and took money from them, including closed accounts. Shaw is alleged to have stolen over $6,000.

Shaw is represented by Greg Sronce of Springfield. He’s next due in court on March 24th for a preliminary hearing.

Another court appearance came from Gerald Jackson, the brother of murder victim Marcus Jackson.

Gerald Jackson faces various drug charges in addition to possession of a weapon by a felon and reckless discharge of a firearm. He was arrested in December stemming from a shooting that occurred in November that’s allegedly connected to the death of his brother.

A “402 hearing”, which is held to gauge what kind of sentence a judge may hand down in an open plea, was held in front of Morgan County Judge Chris Reif, with State’s Attorney Bonjean and Jackson’s attorney, Michael Drake participating.

Drake said he was seeking a prison sentence of less than eight years so that Jackson could be allowed to serve in a prison boot camp, but Reif said it was “not likely” he’d be that lenient if the guilty plea involved the reckless discharge of a firearm charge.

Reif noted that Jackson is also facing a petition to revoke probation case for an unlawful possession of a controlled substance charge in 2012.

Drake said the death of Marcus Jackson has been a “traumatic incident” for Gerald, saying that he died in his arms after Marcus was allegedly shot by Avery Berry last October. He said the plea deal and subsequent sentence he’s requesting would be an opportunity to turn things around.

Jackson wiped tears from his face as his attorney recounted the October shooting.

Jackson is next due in court on March 4th.

Also this morning, Joshua Markley appeared in court for a status hearing. He’s charged with criminal sexual assault of a family member.

The purpose of the appearance was supposed to be to have the court consider a plea offer from the state, but it was continued after a confrontation between Markley and family members of the victim, who, according to Morgan County State’s Attorney Robert Bonjean, is Markley’s stepdaughter.

Markley, who was arrested almost a year ago, said “you know damn well I didn’t do this” to the victim’s family, who were seated within an arm’s length of Markley as the case was heard in a smaller courtroom due to a jury trial.

When asked if he understood the purpose of this morning’s proceedings, Markley said, “I don’t understand any of this anymore.”

Bonjean wouldn’t say what the proposed plea deal is but did say it involves time served in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Markley is also scheduled to appear in court next on March 4th.