South Jacksonville Man Sentenced in 2021 Prairie Land Heritage Grounds Death

By Benjamin Cox on September 28, 2023 at 11:45am

A South Jacksonville man who pleaded guilty to failure to report an accident involving a death back in June was sentenced in Morgan County Circuit Court this morning.

50-year old Michael O. Bailey was sentenced to 4 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections on the charge this morning. Bailey was arrested by South Jacksonville Police on September 5, 2021 after officers discovered the body of 58-year old Kris Tuebener in a corn field on the grounds of the Prairie Land Heritage Museum.

Bailey had initially been charged with reckless homicide and concealment of a homicidal death in the case, both Class 2 felonies. Both of the charges were dropped per the plea agreement in June. According to information in court hearings surrounding the case, Bailey, who as allegedly under the influence of alcohol, was driving an ATV on the grounds in the early morning hours of September 5, 2021 with Tuebener as a passenger when the ATV crashed. Tuebener’s unresponsive body in the cornfield and began performing CPR. She was later pronounced deceased by the Morgan County Coroner’s Office.

Bailey ultimately pleaded guilty to the single charge on June 27th.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll says based off statements given today on both sides of the case, that it was a tragedy; as Bailey and Tuebener were reported to be long-time friends: “The court certainly articulated that probation would deprecate the serious nature of this offense. Not only was it the failure to report the accident or leaving the scene of an accident which involved a death, obviously there was evidence that the defendant concealed the death and at the beginning of the investigation, the defendant also gave some untruthful statements to law enforcement officers – all of those are factors [in the sentence]. Mr. Bailey was friends with the victim, as he and his fiancee testified to. As I said in my argument, these things are always tragic. Even more so when it involves the death of somebody that is friends with the defendant. Ultimately, [Judge Christopher Reif] sentenced the defendant to the Department of Corrections based upon his articulated reasons. Again, we appreciate the patience of the victim’s family for the length of time it took to reach a conclusion in this case.”

Bailey will also serve 6 months of mandatory supervised release and be ordered to pay a $500 county fine plus fees and court costs. He was given credit for 3 days served in the Morgan County Jail.