Trial of Former Mt. Sterling Prison Guards Pushed to August

By Jeremy Coumbes on June 30, 2021 at 8:53am

The trial of two former prison guards accused in connection to the death of an inmate at a correctional center in Mt. Sterling has been pushed back another month.

A jury trial has been set for August 3rd for 29-year-old Alex Banta of Quincy and 52-year-old Todd Scheffler of Mendon. The jury trial was set to begin yesterday, however, it has now been continued.

Both men were prison guards at the Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mt. Sterling and are accused in the 2018 death of 65-year-old Larry Earvin, an inmate.

On March 9th, fellow guard, 42-year-old Willie Hedden of Mt. Sterling plead guilty to his role in the alleged May 2018 assault of Earvin that led to his eventual death 6 weeks later. U.S. District Judge Richard Mills is set to provide sentencing for Headden on July 21st who faces 20 years to life in prison. Under the terms of Hedden’s plea agreement, he is expected to cooperate in the prosecution’s case against both Banta and Scheffler.

The three men are accused of assaulting Earvin at the prison on May 17th, 2018 while transferring him to a segregated prison unit. Earvin suffered broken ribs, a punctured colon, and other serious internal injuries. The death was later ruled a homicide by a Clinton County medical examiner who performed Earvin’s autopsy.

Banta and Sheffler each face up to 20 years to life in prison if they are found guilty on the charges.