Tuesday, April 13, 1999

Alton Telegraph

Location: Alton, Illinois

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - April 13, 1999, Alton, Illinois Election Day • Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Good Morning Area/Illinois A-3, A-8 Bulletin Board A-6 Classifieds .,...C-6 Editorial.....................A-4 Nation/World C-6, D-5 Obituaries.................A-5 Brakhane, Fulmer, Hayes Holtzscher, Miller, Piggott, Roberts, Sanders, Stassi, Wallace Scoreboard...............B-2 SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 r W*U'E* ll m"li m Communications is tholr lob UniComm offers business I solutions j Page IM I Tho outlook Partly sunny and warmer; high near 67, low near 48 Page IM \ Reading is tun Wood River kicks off National Library Week Page C-l Vol. 164, No. 88 —50 cents Tuesday, April 13,1999 www.thetelegraph.com Jurors join family demonstration Families of convicted murderer, victim stage peaceful protests the case by not agreeing with the felony murder charge although agreeing with the facts of the case itself. Jurors were given the option only of acquitting or convicting Davis — not of debating the merits of the law. Hackett said he believes he handled the case lawfully and noted that potential jurors were polled before the trial as to whether or not they agreed to abide by their eventual findings if selected to serve. Several lawyers interviewed Monday said the jury nullification idea is more theory than law. Illinois has no such statute, but four states — Maryland, Georgia, Indiana and Oregon — acknowledge the rights of juries to judge both the law and the facts, according to Frank Nugent, Missouri coordinator of the Fully Informed Jury Association. Nugent, in a letter to juror Karen Wilson of Worden, said the right of a jury to refuse a judge’s dictates goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215. That British document restricted By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE Jurors who convicted Taiwan Davis of murder sided with his family on Monday in a quiet demonstration against the law that convicted him. Meanwhile, relatives of murder victim Richard Skelton staged their own protest just a few feet away. The bizarre Madison County Courthouse scene was the latest twist in the mob beating death of Skelton last August in Alton. Two demonstrating jurors said they would not have convicted Davis, 17, in January had they known he would face a sentence of 20 to 60 years. He is expected to be sentenced later this month. The jurors contend they were improperly instructed because Associate Judge James Hackett did not tell them of the sentencing ramifications. To the contrary, Hackett told them not to concern themselves with the sentencing — a procedure followed by most judges. Also at issue is whether the jurors could have “nullified” Trial date set for suspect in drug distribution case By THOMAS WRAUSMANN Telegraph staff writer JERSEYVILLE - A jury trial has been set for 9 a m. Tuesday, May 25, for a Granite City man who pleaded not guilty Monday to several felony drug distribution v charges. Two Granite City men and one from Dallas were arrested March 30 in a series of coordinated raids in Granite City and New Delhi. Police hope the raids have shut down a drug trafficking ring responsible for bringing about $200,000 worth of marijuana and cocaine from Mexico into the area each month — including roughly half the amount coming into Jersey and Greene counties. Travis D. Mayes, 27, appeared in Jersey County Circuit Court on Monday with his attorney, Thomas' M. Daley of Belleville. Daley asked Circuit Judge Tom Russell if Mayes’ bond could be reduced from $750,000 to $150,000. Mayes is charged with criminal drug conspiracy, two counts of unlawful delivery of marijuana and one count of unlawful delivery of cocaine, ■ See DRUG, Page A-7 J.D. BOO Off to a slow start at the plate Page B-l ■ See PROTESTS. Page A-7* Shelley Garrett, left, of Wood River, and Kelly Skelton, right, of Wood River, protested with family and friends at a counter protest those seeking a new trial for Taiwan Davis of Alton, who was convicted of the murder of Richard Skelton of Wood River. The line of protesters between the women are supporters of Davis. The two women are the daughters of Skelton. By PAUL MACKIE Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE — County residents will receive their tax bills in mid-July — more than a month later than usual — which could cost districts within the county thousands of dollars. “Taxpayers don’t mind getting their bills later, but in reality it’s costing them money because taxing districts are losing money they projected to have,” said Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon during a County Board Taxing Cycle Committee meeting Monday. Bathon, whose office collects the bills, esti mated that all the county’s taxing districts could potentially lose nearly $318,000 during the six weeks that the bills will be delayed. That number is based on the total collection amount — $75 million — that could be invested by all of the county’s taxing districts. “The legislature has made changes to the real estate cycle that impact what (a taxpayer) owes,” Bathon said. “There are more and more exceptions, such as tax increment financing districts, enterprise zones and the possible passage of (today’s tax caps referendum). It means there’s a lot more paperwork to segre- ■ See BILLS, Page A-7 Campaigns have changed, officials note The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon, right, gestures as Madison County Clerk Mark Von Nida, in bow tie, listens at a County Board Taxing Cycle Committee meeting held Monday to discuss late-arriving property tax bills. Taxpayers receiving bills later could cost thousands By DARRYL HOWLETT Telegraph staff writer As voters select candidates today, local and county officials are noting changes in campaigning within the last decade. For Alton City Clerk Mary Boulds, campaigning still represents going out to meet the people. “I believe the campaigning process has changed in some aspects,” Boulds said. “How to campaign was instilled in me by my predecessors. I went knocking on doors, going out and meeting people, letting the people know a little about yourself, so that they know who you are and the position you’re running for.” Boulds, who was appointed city clerk in 1992, won election in 1993 and re-election in 1997. “I do believe money being spent on cam- ■ See CAMPAIGNS, Page A-7 The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Candidates’ signs vie for attention in yards along Illinois Route 111 in Roxana. Various municipal and school board elections are being held today. rn