Saturday, May 1, 1999

Alton Telegraph

Location: Alton, Illinois

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - May 1, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 THE TELEGR APH Mnftlftr's IKsku • Clri« cnfthttll » m    I tin ftaitlfHiif • DhQimonoiiflpglc firet Mother's Day Remember Mom tm her special day Special Section Girls softball Edwardsville beats CM in Ginnings Page 03 The outlook Sunny and wanner. High 75; tow 47 Page 012 Pharmaceuticals Ant Drugstore focuses on medical needs only PageB-1 Vol. 164, No. 106 — 50 cents Saturday, May 1,1999 www.thetelegraph.com The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Taiwan Davis is escorted to his hearing Friday by a bailiff at the Madison County Courthouse in Edwardsville. Davis gets 20 years Teen sentenced to minimum in fatal beating By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - A Madison County judge handed a minimum 20-year prison term to a 17-year-old Alton youth Friday, saying it was the appropriate sentence in an unusual murder case and not a reaction to public pressure. “This court cannot be ruled by polls or picket signs,” Associate Judge James Hackett told a packed courtroom in the Madison County Courthouse. “The last time I looked, I was appointed a judge, not a king.” Amid a flurry of debate about the fairness of his conviction, Taiwan M. Davis was sentenced for felony murder in last summer’s mob beating death in Alton of Richard Skelton, 48, of Wood River. Davis received the sentence sought by his attorney, Erie Vickers of St. Louis. Prosecutor Don Weber had asked for a sentence “greater than the minimum” without recommending a figure. The maximum possible term was 60 years. Davis expressed deep remorse while reading from a one-page, prepared statement. "I did not have murder in my mind or in my heart. I am truly sorry to the family that has lost a loved one,” he read, crying throughout. To his own family, which included his mother and father in the courtroom, he said: “You made a good kid, and I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart for this crime.” Because of a sentencing law change that went ■ See DAVIS. Page A-11 Good: •: Morning Y ■ "v'--f..... ^ " _ I— - rn, , f ’-.'.iv I _ KevCor CONSTRUCTION SIR VIC IS, INC. 112 W. Homer Adams Pkwy Alton 618-467-6370 Thinking About Building? Professional disbursement of funds during construction projects of all types (new homes, commercial bldgs, remodeling and home ^improvement)_ -    _ Area/Illinois . .A-3,6 Bulletin Board .A-7 Classifieds C-9 Comics C-7 Editorial ......A-4 Horoscope C-7 Nation/world . .A-10 Obituaries A-5 Banks, Brown, Cusimano, Daiber, Hartnett, Havens, Jacobson, Lawson, Leonard, Riley, Schafer Religion A-8,9 Scoreboard C-2 Stocks ____B-2 Television ______C-8 Four held after wild police chase Godfrey park gets tree with history By ANDE YAKSTIS Telegraph staff writer GODFREY — The offspring of one of the nation’s most historic apple trees was rooted in the history of Godfrey during the village’s first Arbor Day celebration Friday. Godfrey Mayor Michael Campion, St. Louis radio personality Kevin McCarthy and dozens of children planted the tree, which was grafted from a tree planted by the famous “Johnny Appleseed” about 1840. “It’s a tree from a bud-graft of an apple tree planted by John Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed, 150 years ■ See TREE, Page A-11 By STEVE WHITWORTH Telegraph staff writer In the aftermath of Littleton The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Madison County deputies investigate a car in rear that fled a burglary and was abandoned by suspects on Frankford Road off Seiler Road in Foster Township Friday. FOSTERBURG - A wild chase ended Friday in Fosterburg with the arrests of four people suspected in a residential burglary in Macoupin County, authorities said. The incident began shortly before 4 p.m. at a house on Huette Road near Bunker Hill in Macoupin County, police said. . An attempted burglary was interrupted by a witness, said Lt. Donald Bunt of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. He said the homeowner was not involved in the incident. The suspects fled the scene in a light*blue Chrysler, driving toward Fosterburg Road, according to radio reports broadcast by police during the chase. The witness who interrupted the burglary chased the suspects in another car, ramming his car into the rear of their car, the radio ''reports said. The witness then lost control of his car, which came to rest in a ditch, but the suspects continued driving. A short time later, authorities received a report from a second witness who said the Chrysler was parked near the intersection of Seiler Road and Frankford Lane in Fosterburg. Bunt said the suspects had abandoned their vehicle there and fled on foot. Madison County sheriff’s deputies responded H See CHASE, Page A-11 Three questioned in bomb threats at EA-WR High By DARRYL HOWLETT Telegraph staff writer WOOD RIVER - Three suspects were held for questioning in the bomb threats that have plagued East Alton-Wood River Community High School, the latest one occurring Friday. All three of the suspects are students at the high school. Two of the juveniles were held at the Madison County Juvenile Detention Center in Edwardsville, and one was held at the Wood River Police Department’s lockup, said Sgt. Rocky Goodman of the Wood River police. Goodman said the juveniles were held on felony charges of disorderly conduct. One student said she hopes the threats will not continue Massacre’s ripple effects reach to area By DARRYL HOWLETT and ANGELA MUELLER Telegraph staff writers Law enforcement and school officials in all communities have something in common: taking bomb threats seriously, especially in the wake of last month’s school massacre in Colorado. Bomb threats in recent weeks at schools in Collinsville and Wood River have concerned parents, students and citizens. Law enforcement officials and school administrators work closely together on safety plans. “We’ve had in place for about two years a (safety) H See RIPPLE, Page A-11 The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Two students .walk in front of East Alton-Wood River High School Friday morning after the third bomb threat of the week at the high school. into next week. “School was canceled for (Friday). The guy keeps on calling. Most likely, it’s a student, because they want school to be over,” said Elizabeth Holmes, 17, of Wood River. “I’m thinking they might extend school now until June 5. I think (the suspect) is crying wolf right now.” Wood River Police Chief Jim Schneider said police and school officials went through the procedural steps Friday exactly as they did Thursday. “We got the call around 8:03 a.m. It’s not determined at this time if it was the same voice. By the time police arrived, the kids were already leaving,” he said. “According to the administration, the school had a low attendance following the bomb threat (Thursday).”