Prison time for key prosecution witness in murder trial

By Gary Scott on March 8, 2016 at 12:35pm

A 22-year-old Springfield man who testified during a Jacksonville murder trial in 2015 has been sentenced on theft charges.

Christian Moroney received a sentence of four years, six months in the Illinois Department of Corrections for burglary this morning in Morgan County Court after pleading guilty to charges.

Moroney was given credit for 97 days served in local jail. He was fined $150 and ordered to serve two years of Mandatory Supervised Release.

Prosecutors say Moroney entered a home in the 3-hundred block of Westwinds Drive in Jacksonville in December with the intent to commit theft.

During the mid-October trial of former city real estate agent Robert Heitbrink, Moroney said he was riding his bike past the Heitbrink residence when he “heard a ruckus,” and saw Heitbrink standing over his ex-father-in-law, William McElhaney, pointing at him, appearing angry.

Moroney said he thought they were having a “drunk fight” and sped off.

He said he didn’t say anything about the incident until two days after he was arrested in October, but when defense attorney Larry Elmore questioned his motives for testifying, he said he was “acting as a good citizen.”

Heitbrink’s attorney criticized Moroney and asked why jurors should be expected to believe a convicted felon.

Moroney was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in November of 2013 for two counts of residential burglary, and was arrested in connection to a rash of car thefts in 2013.

Heitbrink was sentenced to nearly three decades in prison after being convicted of murder late last year.