A Greene County man plead guilty to concealing a homicide of an infant that occurred in 2018 yesterday.
36 year old Ryan L Wheeler plead guilty yesterday in Greene County Court. Wheeler was originally charged in November 29, 2018 for burying a dead infant on his family’s property in rural Carrollton, Illinois. Wheeler’s co-defendant, 24 year old Jamia H. Ellis of Alton, has been charged with 2 counts first degree murder in the murder of the child. On June 25th, information had come to light that had also implicated Wheeler in the death of the infant and Wheeler had 2 additional counts of murder added to his case by Greene County State’s Attorney Caleb Briscoe.
Wheeler was released on a recognizance bond with an ankle bracelet monitor on July 16th after spending the previous 18 months in prison in the case.
According to the Greene Prairie Press, Ellis’ attorney has filed a 16-page motion in the case that the state has failed to provide crucial evidence in the trial of both. The motion claims that the former cellmates of Wheeler at the Greene County Jail have come forward with favorable testimony to Ellis’ involvement or lack thereof in the murder. The motion says that the state has failed to provide all correspondence regarding interviews with 3 of the cellmates that were conducted by the Illinois State Police. The interviews allege that Wheeler confessed to having a hand in the murder of the child and possibly a location of a murder weapon. In a press release from the Greene County State’s Attorney’s office today, Briscoe ultimately has determined that the information presented was not credible to Wheeler’s case and in his plea yesterday.
Briscoe said in the release that the he felt the newfound evidence unreliable and incapable of convicting Wheeler of the murder charges. Briscoe said he felt satisfied that the plea reflects the facts of the evidence that support the charge and ultimate conviction of Wheeler in the case. Briscoe declined to give further comment on Ellis’ case. The motion to compel the state on the outstanding evidence is set for August 27th with a bench trial scheduled for August 31st. Two of Wheeler’s former cellmates are set to appear at the hearing on August 27th.
Wheeler’s plea is the result of an investigation involving the Carrollton Police Department, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, and the Illinois State Police.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 16th by Judge James W. Day. The charge carries a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.