Ownbey Criminal Sexual Assault Trial set for March in Cass County

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 17, 2023 at 3:05pm

A Cass County man who is facing multiple counts of sexual assault and abuse may be facing a jury trial soon. 54-year-old Kevin L. Ownbey of Ashland appeared in Cass County Court for a motion hearing Wednesday afternoon.

According to charging documents, Ownbey is facing seven counts in Cass County Court that includes two class 2 felony counts of aggravated domestic battery, three class 1 felony counts of criminal sexual assault, and two class X felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault.

The charges stem from a violent incident on October 7th, 2019, with a woman reported to be Ownbey’s girlfriend at the time.

According to the charging documents Ownbey strangled and sexually assaulted the victim without her consent and knowingly caused her great bodily harm, and sexually assaulted her with both his person and a clothes hanger. He was arrested and booked into the Schuyler County Jail two days later on October 9th.

Cass County State’s Attorney Craig Miller says the state had filed a set of pre-trial motions that are not commonly used unless under certain circumstances in a criminal case.

The state had what are called propensity motions and intent to impede should the defendant choose to testify, and the defendant had a couple of motions. We didn’t get started with those until 4:00 pm and they ran till almost 5:00.

But the judge granted some of the state’s motions, denied some, and then the defendant’s was taken under advisement. The judge will rule on that should certain evidence in the case arise.”

Propensity evidence is evidence of one crime that is used to show the defendant is more likely to have committed another crime.

According to court documents, Ownbey has a prior conviction in Kankakee County in 1999 for a charge of attempted criminal sexual assault with a weapon in which he served 6 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

He also was convicted on a charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon of a 21-year-old victim in Kankakee in 2011, and a charge of aggravated battery in 2019.

Ownbey is currently being held in the Sangamon County Jail. A pre-trial hearing is set for February 28th, with jury selection then scheduled to begin on March 6th and trial set to begin on March 7th.

Since Ownbey has a prior conviction, if found guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault, he could face 25 years to natural life in prison.