Man 5 years in prison for using belt on 4-year-old boy
GARNER — A Mason City, Iowa, man who spanked a 4-year-old child with a belt and caused severe bruising last winter in Britt is going to prison.
Charles Eugene Pennington, 33, was sentenced to five years in prison Oct. 26 in Hancock County District Court after he pleaded guilty to felony child endangerment resulting in bodily injury.
In March, the Iowa Department of Human Services initiated an investigation after it was contacted about severe bruising on the 4-year-old's buttocks, lower back and upper legs, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Britt Police Department.
The child, who was in Pennington's custody and care, told DHS the bruises were the result of being “spanked with a belt,” which was confirmed by other children in the household who said the punishment for “getting in trouble” was “getting whooped with the belt,” court documents state.
Police said the red bruises on the child’s lower back were consistent with being spanked with a belt. The bruises on the child's buttocks and legs were black, blue and purple, according to court documents.
Pennington was fined $750 and was ordered to serve his sentence consecutively with the one imposed for violating his probation from a third-degree theft conviction in 2017. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail with all but 14 days suspended.
Pennington’s also required to complete parenting classes as well as mental health and anger management treatments.
Florida woman released on own recognizance on felony charges fails to show for court
A Florida woman who was released from the Scott County Jail on her own recognizance after being charged in September with multiple counts of forgery, theft, identity theft and felony eluding is now wanted after she failed to show up for her Oct. 25 court date.
An arrest warrant has been for Shari Lee Buzzard, 35, of North Lauderdale, Florida, who failed to appear at her arraignment on the charges against her.
She was last known to be in Florida as she appeared for a court date in Broward County on Oct. 10 when she pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree grand theft.
Scott County District Judge Christine Dalton released Buzzard on her own recognizance from Scott County Jail on Sept. 27, a day after Buzzard, driving on a suspended Florida license, led police on a high-speed chase with speeds reaching 125 mph until they were able to trap her car in the median at mile marker 313 of U.S. 30, according to an arrest affidavit filed by Iowa State Patrol trooper Trent McFarland.
Both Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane and Bettendorf Police Chief Keith Kimball have expressed dismay over the fact that a person with a criminal history like Buzzard’s and who led local authorities on a high speed chase, and has no ties to the community was allowed to go free without posting some kind of bond.
Lane has said that people who have no ties to the area, no home locally, no family, no job, are a big risk when it comes to releasing them on their own recognizance instead of demanding that a bond be posted for release.
Releasing people from the jail who are charged with felonies , who live out of the state or at least the Quad-City region, and who have no ties to the community is an issue Lane feared when the courts began using the Public Safety Assessment tool, which was implemented March 12.
The PSA allegedly uses evidence-based risk factors to determine the likelihood that a defendant who is released before trial will fail to return for future court hearings or commit another crime or violent crime, once released.
Ultimately, the goal is to prevent defendants who otherwise would be eligible for bond to be held because they don’t have the money to post it.
Kimball said that he’s frustrated because his officers worked hard to solve the case, and now a woman who led police on a high-speed chase after committing other crimes in Iowa is walking free in Florida.
“I think a person who leads police on a high-speed chase commits a violent crime,” Kimball said. “They are endangering the lives of the public as well as the officers involved.”
If Buzzard is captured and held in Florida, Lane said he will have to spend thousands of dollars to bring her back or pay a prisoner transport service to deliver her to Scott County. “That comes out of my operating budget,” he said. That could mean waiting on the purchase of needed equipment for the department, as that comes out of the operating budget, too, he added.
“It’s frustrating,” Lane said. “It’s not up to law enforcement to provide income for bonding companies who take a risk bonding inmates out of the jail. But the bonding companies do serve a purpose.”
Had Buzzard had to post bond through a bonding company, “they would be going to get her because they want their money back,” Lane said.
That’s the role bonding companies play, he added.
Buzzard is wanted on one count of on-going criminal conduct, a Class B felony under Iowa law that carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years, and conspiracy to commit a felony, a Class D felony that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
Buzzard also is charged with two counts of identity theft over $1,000, two counts of forgery and one count of second-degree theft, each of which is a Class D felony.
Also, she is charged with felony eluding, also a Class D felony.
She also is facing three counts of fifth-degree theft, a simple misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to 30 days.
According to the arrest affidavits filed by Bettendorf Police Officer Sara Stolley, on Sept. 25, at 12:43 p.m., Buzzard went to the drive-through of the University of Iowa Credit Union, 2123 53rd Ave., Bettendorf. Using a stolen driver’s license and debit card she was able to cash one personal check for $2,000. She then produced a second check written on a different personal account for $2,300.
In total she was able to get $4,300 cash from the University of Iowa Credit Union.
However, it was later learned that both of the checks had been stolen from vehicles in Grimes, Iowa, and Davenport.
The driver’s license and debit card she had used in the transaction was found to have been stolen from a vehicle in Coralville, Iowa.
Then on Sept. 26, at 11:03 a.m., Buzzard again went to the University of Iowa Credit Union and using a driver’s license and debit card stolen Sept. 21 in Coralville, Iowa, attempted to cash a check for $7,500. The check was reported stolen from a vehicle in Bettendorf on Sept. 22.
But as Bettendorf police closed in on Buzzard at the bank, she fled in the vehicle she was driving, a rented 2018 Chrysler 300.
Buzzard led Scott County Sheriffs’ deputies, Eldridge Police, and the Iowa State Patrol on a high speed chase northbound on U.S. 61 with speeds up to 125 mph.
Buzzard then took U.S. 30 eastbound until she reached the west edge of Clinton City limits, according to McFarland’s arrest affidavit. She then drove across the median and began traveling westbound on U.S. 30.
As she was traveling westbound on U.S. 30, Buzzard ran over a tire deflation device which deflated three of her tires. She lost control of the vehicle at mile marker 313 and went into the median. She was able to regain control of the vehicle and tried to get back on the roadway when McFarland tapped Buzzard’s vehicle with his squad car.
Buzzard continued to drive in the median until her car became stuck, according to McFarland’s affidavit.
While Buzzard was allegedly committing crimes in Iowa, she was awaiting trial in Florida on a charge of third-degree grand theft. In that case, on Feb. 2, while at the Seminole Classic Casino’s Player’s Club, Buzzard stole $824 from another person’s checking account using a Georgia driver’s license that belonged to another person.
Buzzard was caught in that case as she had to sign a receipt and provide a thumb print. When the print was run through the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, the print came back to Buzzard.
On Oct. 10, she pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced to two years on probation.
In 2007, Buzzard pleaded no contest to a charge of introducing contraband into the jail in Broward County. She was sentenced to two years on probation. In 2013, she pleaded no contest to felony possession of hydrocodone and again was sentenced to two years on probation.
In 2012, Buzzard was convicted in Christian County, Missouri, of felony forgery, court documents.
But Buzzard’s is not the only case of a known criminal being released without bond.
On Oct. 25, Ricardo R. Bernal, 23, who is on parole out of the Iowa Department of Corrections, was arrested after Davenport police say they found cocaine, marijuana and a stolen gun in his home.
Bernal is charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of a firearm or offensive weapon by a felon, possession or use of false drug tax stamp, and failure to affix drug tax stamp.
The cocaine charge is a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while the remaining charges are all Class D felonies each punishable by up to five years in prison.
Magistrate Stephen Wing released Bernal on his own recognizance even though Bernal has been on parole since Oct. 2017 on a charge of first-degree arson.
In the arson case, Bernal was arrested in October 2013 and charged with first-degree arson and possession with intent to deliver marijuana.
Bernal and a co-defendant dumped gasoline on the porch and front door of an occupied Davenport home and ignited the fuel, according to court documents. No one was reported injured.
The occupants of the home owed them money for drugs, according to court documents.
A search of Bernal’s home at that time turned up 10 pounds of marijuana, a 9mm rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun.
He was convicted on the arson charge in April 2014 and sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. The following month, he pleaded guilty to the drug charge and was sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Police are now searching for Bernal as an arrest warrant has been issued for him for violating his parole.
While Bernal is a local person, he is on parole and there was no reason to release him without some type of bond, Lane said.
Can you help solve this crime?
CrimeStoppers of the Quad-Cities is asking the public's help in resolving this 'unsolved crime' in Cordova.
According to CrimeStoppers:
"During the early morning hours (between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.) October 6, someone entered the property at Cordova Dragway. They then broke into several pop machines and took the cash. They also removed an ATM from the property.
"They likely transported it on a golf cart to the back of the property and removed the lower portion where the cash is. The rest of the ATM was left behind. Suspects cut the fence on the property as they left with the ATM."
The amount of money taken from the machines was around $2,000.
If you have information about this crime, call the tip line 309-762-9500 or submit your tip using the free app P3 Tips. All tips are anonymous and you could earn a cash reward.
Police seek help in Bettendorf arson
CrimeStoppers of the Quad-Cities is seeking information about the following unsolved Quad-City crime.
According to CrimeStoppers:
Arson at Devil's Glen Park in Bettendorf: "On October 27 at about 11 p.m., someone started a fire at Devil’s Glen Park, 4800 Devils Glen Road in Bettendorf. The men’s restroom at the park’s main entrance received extensive damage."
If you know who is responsible, call the tip line 309-762-9500 or submit your tip using the app P3 Tips. All tips are anonymous and you could earn a cash reward.
Help sought in locating burglary suspect
CrimeStoppers of the Quad-Cities is looking for assistance in locating a suspect in a burglary at storage units in Milan
According to CrimeStoppers:
"During the early morning hours of October 22, a grey Kia Sportage operated by James Kenney pulled into the Airport Road Mini Storage Units, Milan. The Airport Road Mini Storage had been the victim of several criminal damages to property and burglaries recently. The grey Kia Sportage matched the suspect vehicle in prior incidents on video.
"Officers were patrolling the storage units and attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The vehicle fled from Milan officers.
"James Kenney, in the same vehicle, is on video surveillance in Moline committing storage unit burglaries."
Kenney has no confirmed address but stays in the Davenport area. Kenney is 41-years-old, 5-feet, 6-inches tall and weighs 180 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes.
He has outstanding warrants in Iowa for possession a controlled substance, 13 counts of failure to appear and three counts probation violation on previous drug and weapons charges.
Milan and Moline police officers would like your help in locating Kenney. If you know where he is, call the tip line 309-762-9500 or submit your tip using the app P3 Tips. All tips are anonymous and you could earn a cash reward.
2 new names added to CrimeStoppers 'wanted suspect' list
Two more people have been added to the CrimeStoppers of the Quad-Cities' ever-changing list of "wanted suspects."
Today's additions include:
• Craig Wayne Coleman Jr., 18, is wanted by the Rock Island Police Department for escape. Coleman also goes by the name of Craig Foster-Coleman
Coleman is described as being 5-feet, 6-inches tall and weighing 140 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.
Coleman cut off his ankle monitor and fled from his residence in Rock Island.
• Stephen Matthew Corbin, 35, is wanted by the Scott County Sheriff's Office for 2nd degree sex abuse.
Corbin is described as being 5-feet, 7-inches tall and weighing 230 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes.
Corbin has violent tendencies.
If you have any information about these fugitives, you are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 309-762-9500 or submit a Web Tip. DO NOT APPROACH THESE INDIVIDUALS! You do not have to give your name. CRIMESTOPPERS will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 and you can remain anonymous.
Koehn murder trial: Defense begins case in baby's death
MOUNT PLEASANT — Jurors heard from Zachary Paul Koehn’s relatives Thursday afternoon as his attorneys began presenting evidence to defend against charges he’s responsible for his infant son’s 2017 death.
Zachary Koehn, 29, a truck driver formerly of Alta Vista, is charged with murder and child endangerment. His trial was moved to the Henry County Courthouse in Mount Pleasant because of extensive publicity surrounding the case. The child’s mother, Cheyanne Harris, also is charged and will be tried separately.
Prosecutors said medics were called to the couple’s apartment around 1 p.m. Aug. 30, 2017, and found 4-month-old Sterling Koehn dead in a baby swing. Authorities said Sterling died of neglect.
Zachary Koehn was originally from California. He was adopted by a Mennonite family that began caring for him when he was an infant. The family moved to the St. Ansgar and McIntire area in Northeast Iowa when he was young.
Zachary Koehn’s father, Willis Koehn, said his son graduated from the Mennonite school at age 14 after finishing the eighth grade, typical for the community. He said Zachary Koehn then picked up jobs but was excommunicated from the faith around age 16.
Zachary Koehn had told investigators it was because of drinking.
According to relatives, Zachary Koehn had an older son. He transferred custody to his parents because alleged mental health issues with his then-wife — not Harris — meant she couldn’t care for the child.
Willis Koehn later moved to Oklahoma, and an older brother, Danny Koehn, moved to Mississippi. Zachary Koehn met Harris in 2014, according to testimony.
Danny Koehn said his younger brother kept in regular contact with him through phone calls and texted photos of Sterling. Neither Danny Koehn nor Willis Koehn ever met Sterling.
Much of the relatives’ testimony, and testimony from a Mennonite deacon who knew the family, related to the traditional roles of households in the faith — the man would be the breadwinner, and the woman would look after the home and care for the children.
Zachary Koehn had told investigators Harris was a stay-at-home mom and usually fed and diapered Sterling while he looked after their then-2-year-old-daughter. Harris made similar statements to investigators.
Danny Koehn testified Zachary Koehn watched his own children for short periods when they were small and knew how to feed and diaper. He also said Zachary Koehn once expressed concern about Harris’ ability to care for Sterling and asked him to take in Sterling if things didn’t work out with Harris.
“With her being a new mother, he got some questions if she was capable,” Danny Koehn said. He said his brother didn’t give any specifics.
The defense also called Zachary Koehn’s third cousin, Greg Nightingale, who worked the same trucking routes. He testified about work schedules. He also told the jury he twice gave Zachary Koehn money for baby formula.
Before the defense took the reins, jurors heard from Dr. Dennis Klein, chief medical examiner for the state. He said he determined Sterling died of denial of critical care and ruled his death a homicide.
Klein went through photos that showed the condition of the baby’s body as he removed layers of urine-soaked blankets and clothing that had been stuffed in the feces-stained seat. He showed where maggots had hatched on the fabric after being laid by flies attracted by the stool.
The medical examiner said three things were behind young Sterling’s death — malnutrition, dehydration and severe diaper dermatitis (diaper rash) with skin breakdown. Each was serious enough to individually have caused death, Klein said.
He said he ruled out heart defects, bowel obstructions and organic brain issues.
“Nothing natural would have done this,” Klein said.
Sterling weighed just under 7 pounds at autopsy and had only gained 150 grams — just a few ounces — since birth.
“He should have gained pounds,” Klein said. He said the child should have weighed about 11 pounds.
The soft spots on Sterling’s head had sunken from dehydration, and this would have been obvious to anyone looking at the child, he said. The small size of the child’s thymus — a gland in the chest — showed he was under ongoing stress.
Klein said the diaper Sterling had been wearing had been on for a “prolonged period of time,” long enough for the fly eggs to hatch into maggots. He said it was likely the maggots were present while the baby was still alive.
The diaper rash caused the skin to break down, which would have allowed bodily fluids to exit and bacteria, like e. coli, to enter the body, Klein said.
In Sterling’s last days, he likely would have been lethargic, not responding to stimuli and not interacting with others, and he likely would have lost his cry, Klein said. This counters what Koehn told investigators — that he had played with Sterling the day before and Sterling was grabbing at his fingers, and that he heard Sterling cry around 6 a.m. Aug. 30, hours before the 911 call.
The degree of rigor — stiffness — in the child indicated he had died more than just a few hours before he was found, but Klein was unable to determine a time of death or even a range. He said it was possible the baby died Aug. 30, 2017, the day he was found.
Timothy Huntington, a forensic entomologist, told jurors the developmental stage of the maggots found on Sterling’s clothing couldn’t point to a time of death but indicated Sterling’s diaper and its contents were about nine to 13 days old given the estimated temperature at the time. The fact the insects weren’t in his eyes or mouth indicates they arrived when he was still alive, he said.
Scuttle flies — small, brown insects commonly found with garbage — had been drawn to the odor of the dirty diaper and fed on the stool and other bodily fluids inside — not on the child’s flesh, he said.
“You don’t find these flies laying eggs and growing and evolving in sanitary conditions. ... This fly would not have been there without the presence of feces, urine,” Huntington said. Some of the maggots had crawled away from the feces and were starting to transform into flies, he said. He said it was possible the child would have felt this.
Huntington said it also was likely the flies began to lay eggs when Sterling wasn’t moving much because movement would have scared them away. He also said if Sterling had been dead longer than a day, there would have been other insect activity.
Police: Fatal shooting was part of "escalating dispute"
The deadly shooting Wednesday morning of a 22-year-old Moline man in downtown Moline appears to be the result of an “escalating dispute” between two groups, police said Thursday.
Detective Michael Griffin declined to elaborate, but said Corey A. Harrell Jr. was the target of “unknown offenders” who began shooting at him in the 2100 block of River Drive.
The shooting continued until Harrell was fatally wounded in the 1500 block of 7th Avenue, Griffin said.
The suspects involved in the shooting were last seen fleeing westbound on 7th Avenue in a black newer model SUV with unknown registration.
Police were dispatched to the scene at 10:09 a.m. after reports of a vehicle shooting at another vehicle traveling westbound on River Drive.
Simultaneously, officers in the police department heard several gunshots. They found Harrell inside a van behind City Hall, across the street from the police department, a short time later.
Harrell was pronounced dead at the scene; an autopsy was performed Thursday.
No one was in custody as of Thursday afternoon. Griffin said police continue to canvas the area for witnesses.
Police ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities at 309-762-9500 or the Moline Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 309-524-2140.
Davenport woman charged with holding knife to woman's neck
A Davenport woman involved in a September 2017 shooting case was arrested Thursday after police say she stabbed the tire of a woman’s car, held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her in October.
Chelce N. Allen, 25, of the 600 block of West 64th Street, is charged with going armed with intent, a Class D felony; assault while displaying a weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor; fifth-degree theft, a simple misdemeanor; and fifth-degree criminal mischief.
Bond was set Thursday at $15,000 cash or surety. She has a preliminary hearing Nov. 9.
At 10:50 a.m. Oct. 8, Davenport police were dispatched to the 600 block of West 64th Street for an assault with a knife.
Police said in an arrest affidavit filed Oct. 19 that Allen and a woman were in a verbal argument when Allen grabbed a pocket knife and stabbed the tire on the woman’s car.
Allen grabbed the woman by her hair, bit her and placed the knife to her throat and threatened to kill her when the woman tried to stop her, according to the affidavit.
The woman suffered a bruised bite mark on her left shoulder, swelling on her forehead and a small puncture cut on her neck, according to the affidavit.
Allen also took the woman’s wallet that contained $100 cash and the woman's ID and social security card, according to the affidavit.
A warrant was issued for Allen Oct. 19, according to court documents. She was booked into the Scott County Jail just before 5 a.m. Thursday.
Allen and several others were arrested in September 2017 following a high-speed pursuit with Davenport police. During the pursuit, a co-defendant stuck her arm out of the sunroof and fired a gun.
Allen pleaded guilty in December to carrying weapons, an aggravated misdemeanor, interference with official acts, a misdemeanor, and unauthorized use of a credit card in an unrelated case.
She was given a suspended prison sentenced and placed on three years of probation.
On Wednesday, Scott County prosecutors filed an application to revoke her bond.
Liggins' fourth murder trial set for March
The fourth murder trial of Stanley Liggins, charged in the September 1990 death of 9-year-old Jennifer Lewis, will begin March 12, a judge ordered Thursday.
The new trial date comes more than a month after Judge Marlita Greve declared a mistrial when a jury in Black Hawk County, where the case was moved due to pretrial publicity, could not agree on a verdict.
The fourth trial for 56-year-old Liggins will remain in Black Hawk County — at least for now.
During a nearly 21-minute hearing Thursday in Scott County Court, Scott County Attorney Mike Walton brought up the possibility of moving the trial to a closer location, citing the difficulty of transporting and housing witnesses in a county that is more than two hours away.
He suggested Linn or Dubuque counties. Liggins’ second trial, in 1995, was held in Dubuque County.
Dubuque County was not an option for Greve, who did not believe it was “enough of a diverse area at this point.” She also said she was not sure the courthouse could accommodate the number of prospective jurors needed for jury selection.
Black Hawk County Public Defender Aaron Hawbaker said he believed attorneys could pick a fair and partial juror a second time in Black Hawk County. He also said in the last few trials that amassed a large prospective jury pool, “we had absolutely no issue ensuring that we had the proper racial make-up of the jury pool relative to the percentage of African-Americans in Black Hawk County.”
Greve said Thursday she was inclined to keep the trial in Black Hawk County but would give prosecutors until Nov. 30 to file a motion for a change of venue. That motion, if filed, will be argued Dec. 17, the judge said.
Any additional motions, including those seeking to reconsider prior rulings on motions in the case, most be filed on Jan. 11, Greve said.
A hearing on the motions will be held Feb. 1.
Liggins is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Lewis, of Rock Island.
Lewis' burning body was discovered in a field near Jefferson Elementary School in Davenport around 9 p.m. Sept. 17, 1990. She had been sexually abused and strangled before being doused with gasoline and set on fire, according to prosecutors.
A search for Lewis began when she did not return home after buying a pack of gum for Liggins at a liquor store near her home that night.
Liggins, who knew Lewis' mother, Sheri McCormick, and her then-husband, Joseph "Ace" Glenn, was quickly developed as a suspect.
He has long maintained his innocence.
Liggins was tried and convicted twice in Lewis' death; both convictions were overturned.
His third trial began in Black Hawk County with jury selection Aug. 28.
Greve declared a mistrial Sept. 24 after the jury said they were hopelessly deadlocked after about three days of deliberations.
Stanley Liggins hearing
Stanley Liggins hearing
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Man leaves child, runs from police in Bettendorf
A Bettendorf man wanted in Rock Island County on felony charges faces additional charges after he fled police, leaving an 8-year-old child standing alone on a busy street.
According to documents filed by Bettendorf Police, Dennis Ronale Gay, 30, of 2130 Grant St., was stopped Tuesday afternoon by police officers at 21st and Grant streets while walking the girl home from school.
When advised by police that he had active warrants for his arrest, Gay let go of the child's hand and fled on foot, abandoning the child on the side of Grant Street (U.S. 67).
Gay ignored verbal commands to stop and was Tasered. He continued to resist arrest and was Tasered a second time after attempting to get up and run away from officers.
The girl began screaming and attempted to run after Gay into heavy traffic.
The girl was stopped by officers and taken into police care until the child's mother could be contacted.
In addition to the outstanding warrant in Rock Island County for aggravated fleeing and eluding police, Gay was charged with interference with official acts, child endangerment and providing false identification information.
Second teen arrested in connection with July 7 shooting in Davenport
Davenport police arrested a second person in connection with a July 7 shooting that left one man injured.
Angel Mora, 17, of Davenport, was taken into custody Wednesday morning. He was being held without bond Wednesday night in the Scott County Jail.
Mora is charged with one count of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a Class C felony under Iowa law that carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
According to the arrest affidavit and documents filed in the Scott County District Court, Mora and Jacob Trujillo, 18, a person known to Davenport police as a member of the Low Rider street gang, were in a white SUV and pulled up in front of 232 S. Lincoln Avenue.
Mora and Trujillo stopped at the house because they saw someone they did not like sitting on the porch, When Mora and Trujillo got out of their vehicle they began asking the other person why he was talking down about their gang the “Low Riders,” on Facebook.
The man walked off the porch to go fight Mora and Trujillo when they went to the passenger side of their vehicle. When they returned, Trujillo was in possession of a handgun and fired two to three times in the direction of the home.
A male on the porch who was not involved in the altercation was struck once in the shoulder and suffered a serious but non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
A later search of Trujillo’s home turned up a .45-caliber handgun, ammunition, gang clothing, Low Rider colors and a sign indicating his association with the gang, according to police.
Trujillo was arrested July 18 in connection with the shooting. He is charged with one count of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a Class C felony, and one count of criminal gang participation a Class D felony that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
He was able to post a $10,000 cash bond through Magic Bail Bonds of Iowa City.
Trujillo was arrested Sept. 27 by Davenport police on charges of interference with official acts-firearm, a Class D felony, and carrying weapons, an aggravated misdemeanor that carries a prison sentence of up to two years.
In that case, at 12:42 a.m., officers saw a vehicle driving recklessly in the 1200 block of Warren Street. Officers knew the vehicle to be associated with the Low Riders street gang, according to the arrest affidavit.
As officers pulled into the alley behind 1216 Warren St., Trujillo got out of the vehicle and jumped a fence despite officers telling him to stop. As he fell over the fence Trujillo dropped a .38-caliber revolver he had concealed.
At the time of his arrest for the July 7 shooting, Trujillo was out on bond on a charge of trafficking in stolen weapons, a Class D felony.
Police say that at 9:51 p.m. March 26, police searched a home in the 1000 block of Iowa Street in connection with a narcotics investigation.
Police say a stolen .45-caliber handgun and a 12-gauge shotgun were located in Trujillo’s bedroom. He also had approximately one gram of marijuana, packaging material and a digital scale in his room, according to police.
Trujillo has been held in the Scott County Jail since his last arrest Sept. 27 on cash-only bonds totaling $30,000.
Trujillo’s jury trial in the shooting case is scheduled for Dec. 3 in Scott County District Court.
Rock Island man accused in sex abuse cases involving minors
A man is charged in two Rock Island County cases on allegations he performed sex acts with minors.
The Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office charged Earl E. Kain, 66, of Rock Island, with multiple counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to court records. Authorities contend the acts were performed with two children over several years. The earliest alleged act was in 2010 and the most recent this year.
Kain was arrested Monday. He made his first appearance Tuesday before Judge Clayton Lee. Bail was set at $200,000; he must post $20,000 to be released. His next court date was set for Nov. 13.
After his hearing Tuesday, he was returned to the custody of the Rock Island County Jail.
Latest: 22-year-old Moline man killed in shooting in downtown Moline
A 22-year-old Moline man was found dead from gunshot wounds in a van behind Moline City Hall late Wednesday morning.
Moline Police Detective Mike Griffin said the case is being investigated as a homicide. No suspects were in custody as of Wednesday afternoon, but police say they are looking for a small, black SUV that had two to three men inside, possibly wearing Halloween masks.
Griffin said the shooting appears to be a targeted incident and there is no threat to the public. But he also called the fatal shooting a tragedy.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “You have a 22-year-old kid, you know, he’s an adult by age, but 22-years-old is young. He has a family of his own and now they are fatherless. His girlfriend lost her boyfriend. His mom and dad lost their son. I can’t imagine what they are going through.
“It’s another senseless violence of guns that these kids are turning to these days," he said.
Officers responded to a report of shots fired at 10:09 a.m. at 16th Street and 7th Avenue, Griffin said. He and other officers inside the police department, which is across the street from City Hall, heard multiple shots being fired.
Griffin said it appears the incident, which involved the man’s silver van and the SUV, began at 23rd Street and River Drive, and that shots were fired from the SUV.
He did not know whether the man returned fire or whether he had a gun. The vehicles then drove a short distance on River Drive, then to 19th Street and down to 7th Avenue.
The vehicles drove a short distance on River Drive, then to 19th Street and down to 7th Avenue. Griffin believes the man was the only person in the van.
No weapons had been recovered as of Wednesday afternoon, but Griffin said various shell casings from different caliber guns were found at the scene.
He did not say how many shots were fired but said it appeared there was a “significant amount of gunfire” directed at the van.
Yellow and black crime scene taped kept the public at bay much of Wednesday as police and crime scene technicians from the Illinois State Police photographed the vehicle and collected evidence in the lot behind City Hall.
Crime evidence tents could be seen on the street in front of City Hall.
The building was placed on lock down for a short time while police secured the scene, and vehicles were unable to leave the lot behind City Hall for several hours.
Seventh Avenue from 17th to 15th streets was closed much of the day.
A deputy coroner with the Rock Island County Coroner's Office pronounced the man dead at 11:50 a.m. An autopsy will be conducted Thursday, Coroner Brian Gustafson said.
Moline police were assisted by officers from East Moline, Rock Island and Davenport, who helped follow-up on leads.
A canvas of the area was conducted and police are gathering surveillance footage from businesses in the area, Griffin said.
Joyce Gay, who works as a nurse at City Hall, was not inside the building at the time of the shooting. She said it is “always scary for anybody involved.”
“(You) never want anybody to be hurt,” she said.
Eric Vanspeybroeck, who works at Rouse Consulting Group on 16th Street, said he heard the sirens and commotion following the shooting and walked down to the scene to see what was going on.
“It’s definitely scary,” he said. “Our business has been down here for over 20 years. You see the traffic accident, you see a cop down here in general — being that the police department is here — you hear the sirens, but at this mass, I’ve never seen something this large before.”
Linda Davis, office manager of Hanna and Ruud Law Offices, 1528 6th Ave., said she was surprised to hear what happened, especially so close to Moline Police Department.
Griffin voiced a similar sentiment, saying “things like this usually don’t happen outside the police department.”
“Things like this usually don’t happen in Moline,” he said.
Police ask anyone with information, including those who can help piece together the last few days of the man’s life, to call Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities at 309-762-9500 or the Moline Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 309-797-0401.
No detail is too small, Griffin said.
“We believe that there’s going to be several witnesses that possibly haven’t come forward yet,” he said. “Anyone that may have surveillance cameras on their cars, anyone that may have taken photographs with their cell phones, anything that you may have, we’re asking that you call the police department and help us out with this investigation.”
One dead after a shooting behind Moline City Hall.
Dispatch Argus reporter Leon Lagerstam contributed to this story.
People at neighboring businesses react to Moline shooting
People working at nearby businesses said the shooting was surprising.
Linda Davis, office manager of Hanna and Ruud Law Offices, 1528 6th Ave., said she was surprised to hear that it had happened, particularly since it took place so close to the Moline Police Department.
An employee at Olson's Auto Service, 630 15th St., who wished to remain anonymous simply said, "It's not good." It also wasn't good for business since nearby streets were blocked off by police, curtailing walk-in customers, the employee said.
Co-worker Gary Humberg called it "weird" that it happened so close to the police station.
He said he heard a high-revving engine sound at the time the incident occurred.
Hamberg said he hadn't heard of anything similar happening in the three years he had worked there.
Mike Fetterer, owner of the Fetography photo studio at 1531 6th Ave., called the incident a "big surprise" and "odd."
It left him with a heavy heart for the victim, he said.
He wasn't going to let it affect his two sons' trick-or-treating plans, though. Hw planned to take the boys, ages 8 and 6, out in Davenport this evening.
Transcript of the 911 call on Baby Sterling Koehn's death
Here is a transcript of the 911 call to dispatchers the day Sterling Koehn, 4 months, of Alta Vista, was found deceased at home.
Aug. 30, 2017 at 12:55 p.m.
Dispatch: Chickasaw County 911.
Koehn: Yeah, this is Zach Koehn. I need an ambulance sent out here to my apartment.
Dispatch: OK, what’s your address Zach?
Koehn: 107 South Hilltop Avenue in Alta Vista.
Dispatch: OK , what’s going on?
Koehn: Uh, around nine my girlfriend went to, to see the son, and then, uh, about 11 or 11:30, she went to check on him, and, he was gone.
Dispatch: Gone. Meaning?
Koehn: He’d died.
Koehn: I said, he’s at, uh, probably 4 months, I don’t know if it’s sudden death syndrome or what.
Dispatch: OK, so you live at 107 South Hilltop in Alta Vista ...
Koehn: Apartment 7.
Dispatch: Apartment 7, Ok, and your son is 4 months old and the last time that, that he was checked on was 9?
Koehn: No, it was…she fed him at 9.
Koehn: And uh, she hadn’t heard him, uh, she went to check on him, and she hadn’t heard him cry or whatever, and probably about 11:30 or 11:40, she’d uh went to check on him and he’s passed away.
Dispatch: Ok, so that’s the last time they checked on him, OK ...
Koehn: Uh, ... Pretty sure that’s the last time she checked. I didn’t, she just woke me up. I’m in shock. I’m sorry.
Dispatch: OK, I’ll get them paged out, OK. I’m going to send an ambulance and everybody up there, OK?
Koehn: OK, thank you
Prosecutor: Iowa infant died of diaper rash
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains graphic content.
MOUNT PLEASANT — One of the first things Jennifer Schriever noticed about Sterling Koehn was he was small and light when she offered to babysit the infant and his 2-year-old sister shortly after the children’s family moved to Alta Vista in 2017.
Schriever said she also noticed Sterling, while otherwise a clean and happy baby, was raw with diaper rash. She said she treated the rash, and the next time she babysat, in mid- to late July 2017, the baby had gained some weight and had less of a rash.
Schriever took the stand Tuesday as testimony started in the state’s case against Sterling’s father, 29-year-old Zachary Koehn, who is charged with murder and child endangerment in the 4-month-old’s death.
Koehn’s trial was moved to Mount Pleasant from Chickasaw County because of extensive publicity in the case. The baby’s mother, Cheyanne Harris, 21, also is charged but will be tried separately.
Sterling was found dead in Koehn and Harris’ Hilltop Avenue apartment Aug. 30, 2017, after Koehn placed a 911 call saying the child had died.
Prosecutor Coleman McAllister, an assistant Iowa attorney general, told jurors Sterling had been in the same diaper for nine to 14 days when medics were called to the apartment. He said the diaper was full of feces that had attracted bugs. The bugs had laid eggs that had hatched into maggots.
The diaper’s contents irritated the baby’s skin, which ruptured, and e coli bacteria set in, McAllister said.
He said Sterling died of malnutrition, dehydration and the infection.
“He died of diaper rash. That’s right, diaper rash,” McAllister told jurors during opening statements.
He said Koehn was responsible for what happened to his son.
“He directly caused Sterling’s death,” McAllister said.
McAllister said it wasn’t a case of an inexperienced parent, noting Koehn’s then 2-year-old daughter was also at the apartment, and she was healthy.
He said Koehn had money to buy food and baby supplies because he had a $35,000-a-year job driving a truck from chicken farms in Wisconsin to a Charles City processing plant overnight. He said Koehn used drugs, and a friend who came over to the apartment to use drugs didn’t know Koehn even had a baby.
Tragedy, not crime
Defense attorney Les Blair III told jurors what happened was a tragedy but not a crime.
“Nothing anybody says throughout this trial will soften that,” he said.
He said often when there is a tragedy, there is a rush to blame.
Reed Palo, chief deputy for the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office, attended Sterling’s autopsy. He described finding maggots and larva when the medical examiner began to remove the layers of urine-soaked blankets and clothing from the child.
Sterling wore a hoodie that appeared to be for a larger child, a onesie and pants. Palo said there was an acrid, acidic smell distinctly different from decay. The maggots were different colors.
“As the diaper came off, you could see the skin had broken down,” Palo told jurors. “It just looked like it had been there a long time.”
Palo said he, too, was startled by how tiny Sterling appeared for his age.
Schiever said Koehn had not yet called 911 when he told her Sterling had died. She said she noticed him smoking a cigarette outside and pacing, and when she asked what was wrong he told her, “My baby boy is gone. ... We don’t know what to do at this point.” She said she told him to call 911, and he went inside.
Earlier Tuesday, first responders testified about finding the baby in a swing seat in a back bedroom.
Toni Friedrich, a nurse and first responder with the Chickasaw County Rescue squad, was the first to arrive at Koehn’s apartment, and recounted how she was thinking about CPR and other measures to take when she was en route in her personal car.
Koehn stated in the 911 call at 12:55 p.m. that day his girlfriend had checked on the baby at 9 a.m., and when she checked again at 11:30 a.m., she found the infant had died.
Friedrich said Koehn showed no emotion when he led her to the bedroom. He flipped on a light switch, muttered something she didn’t catch and left the room.
She said the child wasn’t breathing, and she found his arm was cold and stiff when she checked for a pulse.
“His eyes were open, and it was a blank stare,” she said.
“This isn’t right. This is not a baby who I can do CPR on,” she said.
When she touched his chest, she found his clothing was crusty, and when she moved his blanket, gnats flew up, she said.
“The whole room was hot ... and there was a stench of urine in the whole room,” she said.
Tina Shatek, a former first responder and postal carrier who helped Friedrich find the apartment and followed her inside, said it was clear she couldn’t help revive the child, and she went to console Koehn and his girlfriend.
She said Koehn told her he had been sleeping because he drove trucks at night. She said he was “quiet, no tears.”
“I would have been hysterical,” she said.
On cross-examination, the defense asked if it was possible Koehn showed no emotion because he was in shock.
Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Rosol told jurors the swing seat was stained brown and the blanket was wet with what he suspected was urine because of the ammonia odor. He said he had to hold his breath.
Rosol said he found fresh diapers bundled in the room but didn’t locate any used diapers. A baby bottle found in front of the swing and formula that had started to separate. He said he found a can of formula three-fourths full in a cabinet over the sink. A second can was almost empty.
Schriever said she encountered Koehn and Harris at a park with their dog about two days after Sterling’s death. She said they were talking about funeral plans.
“They seemed to be pretty happy,” Schiever said.
At one point Harris said she thought law enforcement was out to get them, she said. Harris tapped Koehn’s arm and said she told him they should have taken his daughter and their dog and ran, Schriever said.
Testimony is scheduled to resume today.
RI man charged with performing sex acts
A man is charged in two separate Rock Island County cases on allegations he performed sex acts with minors.
The Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office has charged Earl E. Kain, 66, with multiple counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and a count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to court records. Authorities contend the acts were performed with two individuals over several years. The earliest alleged act was from 2010 and the most recent this year.
Kain, of Rock Island, was arrested Monday by the Rock Island Police Department, according to police reports.
He made his first appearance Tuesday afternoon before Judge Clayton Lee. His bail was set at $200,000, which means he must post $20,000 to be released. His next court date was set for Nov. 13.
After his hearing on Tuesday, he was returned to the custody of the Rock Island County Jail.
Drug takeback campaign collects hundreds of pounds
Quad-Citians dropped off pills and patches by the pound Saturday as part of this year's DEA National Prescription Drug Takeback.
The program is meant to safely dispose of prescription medications no longer needed by their owners.
In Rock Island County, the Moline, East Moline, Silvis and Milan police stations and the Rock Island County Justice Center in Rock Island were the designated areas for leaving unwanted medications.
"We got over 200 (pounds) at Moline (Police Department) alone," Detective Michael Griffin, a spokesman for the department said Monday.
People brought 100 pounds to the East Moline Police Department and 96 pounds to its counterpart in Silvis, according to police.
"We did six boxes with a total weight of 150 pounds," Milan Police Chief Shawn Johnson said.
At the Rock Island County Justice Center, 294 pounds of drugs had been collected as of Monday. That total includes Saturday's event and drugs dropped off as part of a different program begun a few months ago, Rock Island County Sheriff's Lt. Jon Deloose said.
The drugs will be shipped away for safe disposal, he said.
Allowable items included pills and patches, but not liquids, inhalers, sharps or needles.
In April, about 600 pounds of medication were collected in Rock Island County, according to a news release. Nearly 1 million pounds were collected nationally.
People who could not participate on Saturday can still safely dispose of prescription medications through the sheriff's office's program, the Secure Drug Disposal Box, available in the lobby of the justice center at 1317 3rd Ave., Rock Island.
People may place expired or unwanted medications in the box at no charge.
In January, the county also launched the Safe Passage program for people with opioid addiction. In that program, people can come to a police department or the sheriff’s office for help with an opioid problem, officials have said.
Those people will not be arrested, and they will not face prosecution. Instead, the authorities will try to connect them with a drug treatment program. They can turn in their drugs and drug paraphernalia, and it will be destroyed.
Police agencies participating in Safe Passage include those from Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Silvis and Milan.
Walgreens also has announced plans to allow people to drop off unwanted medications at its stores beginning in the spring. The program will be free.
Two Bettendorf men arrested in methamphetamine investigation
Two Bettendorf men were charged with felonies Monday night in connection with a methamphetamine investigation.
John Paul Merrick and Vincene Lee Smith, both 42, are charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, conspiracy to commit a non-forcible felony, and failure to affix drug tax stamp.
Merrick also is charged with possession of contraband in a correctional facility, a Class D felony. His bond was set at $10,000 cash or surety. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Smith's bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety. He also has a preliminary hearing Friday.
According to an arrest affidavit, agents from the Quad-City Metropolitan Enforcement Group had an undercover agent buy methamphetamine from Merrick on Wednesday. The agent purchased less than five grams.
At 7:37 p.m. Monday, QCMEG executed a search warrant at Merrick and Smith’s home, 919 Hawthorne Drive, Bettendorf.
During the search, agents found seven one-gram dosage units of methamphetamine that did not have the proper tax stamp. They also found documents and ledgers of previous narcotic sales.
Smith had two ounces — or more than 56 grams — of methamphetamine at the time of the search. After being taken to the Scott County Jail, methamphetamine was discovered in the inside liner of Merrick's jacket.
The methamphetamine charge Merrick faces is a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while the charge Smith faces is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
The conspiracy and drug tax stamp charges are Class D felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison.
Merrick was arrested in May on two counts of third-degree sexual abuse in Muscatine County. He is accused of forcing a woman to perform a sex act against her will and recording the act on her cellphone in February, according to court documents.
Merrick posted $15,000 through a bail bond company and was placed on supervised release the following month. On Tuesday, Muscatine County prosecutors filed an application to revoke his pretrial release in that case.
— Tara Becker-Gray, email@example.com
Davenport man charged with insurance fraud
A Davenport man faces a felony charge of insurance fraud-presenting false information after an investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division Fraud Bureau.
Dustin Cory Jungvirt, 28, of Davenport, was arrested Wednesday by the Davenport Police Department; he was released from the Scott County Jail Thursday on his own recognizance and placed on pretrial supervision.
He will be arraigned Nov. 29.
On Dec. 20, Travelers Indemnity Company submitted a fraud referral to the Iowa Insurance Fraud Bureau that alleged that Jungvirt submitted false information when making a renter's insurance claim, according to an arrest affidavit filed by the insurance fraud bureau.
His home had been burglarized on December 11, but he did not have a renter's insurance policy at the time, according to the affidavit.
On Dec. 13, Jungvirt applied for and received a renter's insurance policy through Travelers with a policy inception date and time of 12:01 AM on Dec. 13, according to the affidavit.
At 4:07 p.m. the same day, he submitted a renter's insurance claim to Travelers and made statements claiming that the burglary occurred on Dec. 13 during the early morning hours, which was after the policy inception date and time, according to the affidavit.
Davenport police records showed that the Jungvirt reported that the burglary occurred on December 11, not December 13 as he told Travelers, according to the affidavit.
A warrant was issued for Jungvirt in September.
Insurance fraud-presenting false information is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Iowans with information about insurance fraud are encouraged to contact the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau at 515-242-5304.
Davenport man faces meth charges after chase
A Davenport man faces felony drug charges after fleeing during a traffic stop Monday night in Blue Grass.
The incident occurred about 6 p.m.
A Blue Grass police officer attempted to stop a vehicle driven by Daniel J. Weber, 38, of Davenport in the 200 block of east Mayne Street, according to a news release from the Blue Grass Police Department.
The vehicle fled and was stopped after a pursuit. Weber fled on foot and was later captured, police said.
Officers found methamphetamine in the vehicle, packaged for individual sale, as well as narcotics paraphernalia.
Weber is currently in the Scott County Jail on numerous traffic and narcotics charges including possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a class B felony with a $25,000 bond.
Weber’s total bond is set at $32,200.
Deputies from the Scott County Sheriff’s Office assisted in Weber's apprehension.
3 held on kidnapping charges in Rock Island County
Three people are accused of holding a person against her will on Saturday in Rock Island County.
Justin T. Pyles, 33, Davenport; Alton O. Buford, 30, Moline; and Madeline Bakoylis, 27, Davenport, are all charged with kidnapping, according to Rock Island County Court records. Pyles is also accused of two counts of aggravated domestic battery.
Authorities allege the three knowingly, secretly confined the victim without her permission, records state. Pyles is additionally accused of beating the victim with a shovel and impeding her breathing by covering her mouth with duct tape.
The Rock Island County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case, but further details about what happened and where were not available Monday afternoon.
All three made their first appearances Monday before Judge Norma Kauzlarich. Pyles' bail was set at $250,000, of which he would have to post $25,000 to be released. Buford's bail was set at $100,000, so he would have to post $10,000 bond. Bakoylis' bail was set at $50,000. She must post $5,000 to be freed.
As condition of their individual bonds, none of them are to have contact with the victim, according to court records.
All three were returned to the Rock Island County Jail after their first appearances, and they are all next scheduled to appear in court on Nov 5.
Information sought in 2003 hit-and-run
Authorities and Shannon Williams' family are still looking for the answers that will bring the investigation into his death to a close.
Williams, 29, was hit by a vehicle around 1:45 a.m. on Aug. 3, 2003, as he walked in the westbound lanes of Illinois 5 near what is now Chopper's Bar & Grill, East Moline, according to Crime Stoppers. The vehicle left the scene, and investigators are still looking for it and its driver.
The vehicle that hit Williams was described by witnesses as a white, sedan-style passenger car with a boxy, square build, probably from the early 1990s, Crime Stoppers states. It may have been a Chevrolet Impala or Celebrity, a Buick LeSabre or Electra, or a Dodge Dynasty.
It was last seen traveling westbound near Barstow Road, Crime Stoppers states. A witness attempted to follow the vehicle, but was unable to get more details about it.
People came out from the tavern, then known as Two Rivers Tavern, and helped Williams, who was on the north side of the westbound lanes, Crime Stoppers states. He was hospitalized, but later died.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 309-762-9500, through the P3 Tips app, or at crimeinfo.net.
Davenport man charged with insurance fraud
A Davenport man faces fraud charges after an investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division Fraud Bureau.
Dustin Cory Jungvirt, 28, of Davenport was charged with insurance fraud-presenting false information, a class D felony.
The charges against Jungvirt stem from an investigation that began in April 2018. Jungvirt allegedly submitted a fraudulent insurance claim to his insurance company seeking reimbursement through his insurance policy.
On September 18, 2018, a Scott County warrant was issued for the arrest of Jungvirt. On October 24, 2018, Jungvirt was arrested by the Davenport Police Department and booked into the Scott County Jail. Jungvirt posted a $300 cash surety bond and was later released. Trial will be set at a future date.
Iowans with information about insurance fraud are encouraged to contact the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau at 515-242-5304.
No additional information will be provided at this time.