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Alton Telegraph: Monday, March 1, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - March 1, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  Welcome to Historic  ‘South Side Rapist’ suspect caught  Madison County may get first chance at trial  By REBECCA HOPKINS  Telegraph staff writer  ALTON — After months on the run, the suspected “South Side Rapist” has been arrested in Albuquerque, N M.  Dennis Rabbitt, 42, is a former construction worker from Cedar Hill, Mo,, who also lived in the Metro East. Rabbitt is a suspect in the assaults of two women from Collinsville in 1994 and 1995.  FBI Special Agent John Gulley said Rabbitt was arrested during an investigation of a 15-year-old female runaway.  “According to Albuquerque police, officers stopped a car occupied by the runaway female and a man who identified himself as Nathan Babbitt,” Gulley said. “The officers ran Babbitt’s driver’s license and Social Security number through the National Crime Information Center and the resulting information linked Babbitt with Rabbitt.  “When further information concerning body marks and tattoos was confirmed, the officers arrested him.  There has been no word on whether Rabbitt will be charged for any crimes against the girl,” Gulley said.  Rabbitt was taken irito custody about 9:30 a m. Sunday following a short foot chase through a motel parking lot, according to Albuquerque police spokesman Capt. Carl Ross.  Madison County State’s Attorney Bill Haine said Sunday that he and his staff would be meeting on Monday to discuss the Collinsville  cases and speak with the victims. The possibility exists that Madison County officials will have one of the first opportunities to try Rabbitt.  “It all depends on how the interstate jurisdiction system works,” Haine said “But whether we have the first chance to try him or not, it is more important that all jurisdictions work together to see that Rabbitt spends the rest of his life in prison.”  Haine also said that the St. Louis Police Department had an opportune  ty to pick up Rabbitt before he left Missouri.  “That has never been adequately explained to us as to why he wasn’t," he said. “Our goal now is to assure the victims that he is never a free man again.”  There hadn’t been any confirmed sightings of Rabbitt since he was spotted at a Missouri Tigers football game in Columbia in November.  DNA tests have linked Rabbitt to a string of at least 16 rapes in the St. Louis and Metro East area over the past ll years, police say.  The Associated Press contributed some information for this article.  Area/Illinois.......A-3  Bulletin Board B-2  Classifieds........C-6  Comics...........D-2  Editorial..........A-4  Nation/World......B-3  Obituaries ........A-5  Ballard, Benjey, Bennett, Fisher, Klaas, Lancaster, McCann, Nelson,  Newton, Prather,  Rowling, Smith, Spegall, Vetter  Scoreboard.......C-2  Vol. 164, No. 45 —SO cents  Region  Laser  pointers  banned  Page IM  American Cancer Society gears up for annual event  Page B-l  www.thetelegraph.com   Businessman’s death shocked the community  1984 murder remains a mystery  Hoops heroes return to Carrollton  By LOUIE KORAC  Telegraph sports writer  CARROLLTON — The white and green sign perched on Illinois Route 267 said it all — “Lady Hawks, Rock This Town.” That and many other signs, ribbons, streamers — any party decoration one could imagine — was draped from  Roodhouse, through White Hall and into Carrollton.  The Carrollton Lady Hawks arrived back home at approximately 2:08 p.m. on Sunday afternoon from the Illinois High School Association Class A State Finals after suffering their first and only defeat of the season to the Nokomis Redskins, the defending champions.  But you couldn’t tell that to the many well-wishers who greeted the Lady Hawks, who finished with a 35-1 record.  A few of the family vehicles first met the Lady Hawks and their bus just outside Manchester and began the trek to Carrollton. Two police escorts led the  ■ See HEROES, Page A-7  Brussels proud of historic distinction  By ANDE YAKSTIS  Telegraph staff writer  BRUSSELS — Spring visitors can take a walk back into the history of the 1800s in Brussels, a town now on the National Register of Historic Places.  “We’re proud that our town is recognized across the country as a historic district and we invite tourists to see the historic buildings,” Brussels Mayor" Sarah Kinder said.  The town of 125 people was honored in August with the historic designation on the National Register of Historic Places.  Brussels has a rich history going back to 1822 when John  Mettz and other German immigrants settled in the scenic country to plant corn, fish in the rivers and trade for animal furs.  Brussels is a quaint, picturesque community in the rolling hills of southern Calhoun County, between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.  A new sign at the edge of Brussels welcomes visitors to see the scenic town “nestled between two rivers.”  Kinder, the mayor, designed the sign. Her husband, Elden, built it and Richard Dziurowitz, did the lettering on the big sign board.  ■ See BRUSSELS, Page A-7  Telegraph  Towns  Sports Evansville© Bradley©  Creighton 78 SW Missouri 70  PageC-1  The outlook Partly sunny and warmer ; high near 57, low I near 41  Page D4 i  J March 1,1999  “It was a brutal murder and a gruesome scene,” said East Alton Police Chief Richard Brown, who answered the emergency call to Decker’s home and saw him lying on the floor in a pool of blood.  Nearly 15 years have passed and the murder of the owner of the popular Lewis and Clark Restaurant and Motor Lodge in East Alton remains a mystery.  “Time has passed but we’ll never give up on finding Clarence Decker’s killer,” said Brown, who investigated the Decker murder beginning the night of the killing. “We will find who did it.”  The slaying of the 67-year-old prominent businessman and civic leader was one of the most baffling murders in the annals of Madison County crime.  Brown, the East Alton police chief, former Police Chief Michael Urban and former Illinois State Police investigator Larry Trent remember the fateful night which started about IO p.m. at Decker’s  ■ See MURDER, Page A-7  The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES  The Carrollton Lady Hawks wave to the crowds Sunday as they proceed around the square during an arrival parade in Carrollton.  The Telegraph/ANDE YAKSTIS  Brussels Mayor Sarah Kinder, left, and her husband, Elden Kinder, display the new sign welcoming visitors to Brussels, a town now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of a three-part series about unsolved murders in the area.  By ANDE YAKSTIS  Telegraph staff writer  EAST ALTON - East Alton businessman Clarence Decker reached out with a helping hand to blind and disabled children in the community.  “Clarence had a special piece in his heart    for  needy children," said Don Colclasure, a member of the    Wood  River Lions Club with Decker. “As an international director of the Lions Club, Clarence helped visually-impaired children across the country.”  On Oct. 4, 1984, people in the community were shocked when a mysterious intruder entered Decker’s fashionable East Alton home and slashed his throat.  Est* lo 76 Village Nestled Between Rivers  110 H. Adams Parkway Alton, IL 62002  CLOSEOUT SALE OF ALL ABOVE GROUND POOLS (1998 models in slock) limited quantity  LAYAWAY NOW FOR SPRING   

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