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Alton Telegraph: Saturday, January 23, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - January 23, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 Vol. 164 No. 8 50 cents  Tbs‘Mg lump  ionTax ii  ActionTax is business owner’s dream come true  Page IM  SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  TELEGRAPH  Saturday  January 23, 1999  Boys basketball EES 61    |  Granite Qty 45  CM 61    i  Roxana51    i  Whitney Young 74 Altai 67 Page B-1:  The outlook  Qoudywitha  chance of rain High 38, low 28  Page LH  Rooms with a view  Wildlife, woods part of Alton home’s beauty  PageC-l ■  Teen guilty in beating death  By DENNIS GRUBAUGH  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - Jurors who convicted an Alton teenager of murder Friday night cried with him when the verdict was read.  Taiwan M. Davis, 17, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the Aug. ll mob  Defendant and jurors cry over verdict  beating death of Richard Skelton, 48, of Wood River. He was the first to go on trial in the killing.  The jury of six men and six women deliberated for 2*6  hours. At least five jurors showed visible signs of emotion as they were led from the courtroom of Associate Judge James Hackett.  “The devil’s in these people,”  Davis sobbed as he was whisked into a courthouse elevator by sheriff’s deputies after the verdict.  Jurors said later that they wished they had been given an  alternative to the murder charge, perhaps involuntary manslaughter, which would have carried with it a much lesser penalty than the likely 20- to 60-year sentence that  Davis will face later this year.  “Involuntary manslaughter would have been justice,” defense attorney Erie Vickers said. “His act was reckless, and there should be some penalty.” He said he plans to appeal the verdict.  Assistant State’s Attorney  See GUILTY, Page A-7  Sen. Byrd calls for dismissal of all charges  Three charged in Kafka killing  Carjacking believed motive  WASHINGTON (AP) - An influential Senate Democratic elder abruptly called for dismissal of charges against President Clinton Friday to “end this sad and sorry time for our country,” jolfing the impeachment trial as defense lawyers and prosecutors argued the case under questioning from senators.  Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s statement underscored Clinton’s strength among Democrats as the Senate moves toward test votes on articles of impeachment alleging perjury and obstruction of justice.  Some Republicans talked of trying to find an exit strategy from the two-week trial, but several predicted any effort to  end the proceedings early next week, as Byrd urged, would fail in a near party-line vote.  “I don’t know of any Republicans who will vote to dismiss," said Sen. Charles Grassiey, R-Iowa.  Republicans command a 55-45 majority in the Senate, and, if united, can win any test vote on which a simple majority prevails.  But Byrd, who once said his vote on Clinton could go either way, said — and one House prosecutor agreed — that the two-thirds majority it would take to convict the president did not exist in the Senate.  And Byrd went a step further, saying, “It is not likely to  ■ See BYRD, Page A-7  The Telegraph/PAUL MACKIE  Edwardsville Director of Police Bennett Dickmann and Madison County State s Attorney William Haine announce the arrest of three men in the Dec. 22 killing of Michael A. Kafka of Edwardsville.  By STEVE WHITWORTH  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - Three men were charged Friday with two counts each of first-degree murder in last month’s slaying of an Edwardsville man during an attempted carjacking outside his home.  The three are charged with the Dec. 22 killing of Michael A. Kafka, of the 1400 block of Madison Avenue in Edwardsville.  The Telegraph has learned that one of the suspects was in custody at the Edwardsville Police Department briefly on the night of the killing, being questioned about a telephoned bomb threat that investigators believe was a diversion.  The suspects charged are. Jeremy G. Harris, of the first  ■ See KAFKA, Page A-7  Footloose  Pupils who were being rewarded for their good behavior since October watch the performance Friday of Footloose, a jump rope team of students from five schools in O’Fallon, in Central Elementary School in Roxana.  The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN  Good Morning *  AHS director to lead All-State band  Area/Illinois . .A-3,8 Bulletin Board .A-6 Classifieds ... .C-5  Comics.......C-4  Editorial ......A-4  Horoscope ... .C-4 Nation/world .. .C-2  Obituaries A-5  Carpunky, Ghose, Jacobs, Kessinger, Leonardt, List, Lowder, Lucker, Pruitt, Withrow, Young  Television C-5  WWW HittinJtHji ;*i»li  By LINDA N. WELLER  Telegraph staff writer  ALTON - One of the area’s best known band directors will conduct some of the state’s top young musicians next week.  David Drillinger, band director at Alton High School, will direct 160 members of the All-State band during the Illinois Music Educators Association’s All-State Music Festival.  The association is a member of the Music Educators National Conference.  The annual festival, which will be  held in the Peoria Civic Center, runs from Thursday through Saturday, Jan 30. Some 300 band, orchestra and chorus students participate.  Drillinger said he was nominated for the honor last year by fellow IMEA District 5 band members “It’s a great honor for a band director in Illinois, 1 • he said. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”  Band students compete during several levels of tryouts throughout the fall to be selected to participate in the  ■ See BAND, Page A-7  The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH David Drillinger, band director at Alton High School, meets with baritone saxophone player Heather Baumberger, a freshman, in the school band room.  «  A   

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