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Suspects in bike trail death appear in court; one charged with murder
STABBING

Suspects in bike trail death appear in court; one charged with murder

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Arrests

Ryan B. Mosher, 20, was arrested for homicide. Jessie R. Martin, 23, Patrick K. Watts, 26, and Melinda N. Burkhardt, 28, each were arrested on one count of concealing a homicidal death. (Contributed photos)

UPDATE: A man stabbed another with a knife, dumped the body on the Rock Island bike path and and threw the weapon into the Mississippi River, according to charges read Friday at his initial court appearance.

Ryan B. Mosher, 20, of Davenport is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 51-year-old Alan Kurt Porter, a homeless man.

Mosher had his initial appearance Friday in Rock Island County Circuit Court. He also is charged with concealing a homicidal death and obstruction of justice.

First-degree murder is a Class M felony in Illinois that has a sentencing range of 20 to 60 years in prison.

Melinda N. Burkhardt, 28, of Davenport also appeared in court on an obstruction of justice charge alleging she advised Mosher to throw the knife into the river. She faces one to three years in prison if found guilty.

Porter’s body was discovered at 3:09 p.m. Monday by a bicyclist along the Mississippi River shore between the Centennial and Crescent Railroad bridges.

Rock Island police have released no other details about the death and the investigation continues.

The preliminary cause of death is “traumatic injuries of a suspicious nature,” Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson said Friday.

Mosher remains in the Rock Island County Jail on a $1 million bond. Burkhardt also remains in jail on a $25,000 bond.

They each have a preliminary hearing set for 8:30 a.m. June 26.

Jessie R. Martin, 23, of Davenport, and Patrick K. Watts, 26, each appeared Friday in Rock Island County Circuit Court as material witnesses to a murder. They were released from custody on $75,000 recognizance bonds. Watts said in court that he is homeless and was told to remain in the Rock Island area pending the outcome of the case.


UPDATE: The four people charged in connection with the Alan Porter homicide are making their first appearances in Rock Island County.


EARLIER STORY

Suspects in bike trail death due in court

Brian Wellner at 10:39 p.m. Thursday

Alan Kurt Porter was always respectful and kind to everyone he came into contact with.

That’s what Fred Jackson, director of Christian Care homeless shelter in Rock Island, said of Porter, 51, who stayed at the shelter several months ago while going through family trouble.

Porter’s body was discovered Monday along the Rock Island bike trail, and four Davenport residents have been charged in connection with the death.

Ryan B. Mosher, 20, was charged with homicide. Jessie R. Martin, 23, Patrick K. Watts, 26, and Melinda N. Burkhardt, 28, each were arrested on one count of concealing a homicidal death. Martin also is charged with contempt of court in another case.

Their initial appearances are scheduled for today in Rock Island County Circuit Court.

They were being held without bond Thursday at the Rock Island County Jail.

Porter’s body was discovered at 3:09 p.m. Monday by a bicyclist along the Mississippi River shore between the Centennial and Crescent Railroad bridges.

The preliminary cause of death is “traumatic injuries of a serious nature,” Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson said.

“I was shocked when I heard about it,” Jackson said of the death.

He said Porter had been in and out of the shelter numerous times. He would eat there, and he was in need of clothing such as jackets, socks and shoes, Jackson said.

Porter also attended the chapel at the shelter, Jackson said.

“He struggled with issues in his life, like everybody else,” Jackson said.

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