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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - August 14, 1999, Alton, Illinois Vol. 164, No. 211 — 50 cents Saturday, August 14,1999 www.tnetelegraph.comWoman accused of killing sister Ie elegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - An O’Fallon woman was charged with first-degree murder Friday in Madison County Circuit Court accused of killing her sister in a plot to steal the victim’s baby and call it her own. Sandra May Merrifield, 22, of the second block of Rock Springs in O’Fallon, was held without bond Friday at the Madison County Jail. She hit her sister, Jossie L. Merrifield, 18, of Motive was to steal niece, sheriff says the 300 block of North Summit Street in Collinsville, over the head repeatedly with a large rock Thursday night, Madison County Sheriff Bob Churchier said. The victim tumbled down a creek embankment and landed face-down in the water. The preliminary cause of death was believed to be drowning, authorities said. The suspect later led authorities to her sister’s body. Sandra Merrifield was claiming to be pregnant for months but was not, Churchich said. “The victim was killed predominantly for the child.” Authorities first learned about the killing when the suspect and her boyfriend, Everette Jackson, 32, appeared at the Collinsville Police Department just after 9 p.m. Thursday. Churchich said there was reason to believe that Sandra Merrifield suspected Jackson was the father of the infant, although further investigation will have to be done to determine with certainty whether that was the case. Churchich said the suspect had tried to convince Jackson that she had delivered the baby that same See SISTER, Page A-9 Sandra Merrifield IMO I Oley I apl i/uvi ii* unummi At right, Kramer Morgenthau, director of photography for ‘The Big Brass Ring,' lines up a shot on the Hotel Stratford during the Aiming of the picture in Alton in July 1998. Above, Stratford veteran employee Jesse Chavours pretends to be asleep behind the counter for a scene in the film. Showtime for Alton Movie filmed Downtown debuts on cable Sunday By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — On Sunday night, movie buffs will be able to sit back, enjoy a bowl of popcorn and watch some big stars in dramatic action in a familiar setting — Downtown Alton. “The Big Brass Ring” will premiere at 7 p.m. Sunday on Showtime, a cable television channel. The film crew, actors and other staff created a stir in Downtown Alton for several days in late July and early August of last year when they converged on The Hotel Stratford, 229 Market St., for some local shots. Members of the cast include William    Hurt,    Nigel Hawthorne,    Miranda Richardson, Irene Jacob and Ewan Stuart. The crew filmed most of the 100-minute movie in St. Louis — where the story is based — and Los Angeles. Millennium Films produced the independent movie. Locally, subscribers of TCI of Illinois — and Falcon subscribers in See MOVIE, Page A-9 Three school districts ponder consolidation By ANGELA MUELLER By AIMlabl Telegraph staff writer School board members in Wood River, East Alton and Hartford are considering the results of a study about consolidating the three districts. Members of the East Alton Elementary District, Wood River-Hartford Elementary District and the East Alton-Wood River High School District boards met this week with representatives from Midwest School Consultants to review a Reorganization Feasibility Study. “I think what the study did was to provide us additional information as to where the three districts stand on issues such as facilities, finances and curriculum,” said Marvin Peterson, president of the East Alton Elementary board. «T think the study shows we can limprove the education of our kids by consolidating.” Fred Uteri president of East Alton-Wood River High School Board The effect of consolidation on curriculum was a major concern listed by presidents Philip Crause of the Wood River-Hartford Elementary Board and Fred Ufert of the high school board. Ufert said freshmen come into the high school from the two elementary districts with differing educational levels. “The study showed that with one curriculum coordinator for K-12, everything would be more streamlined instead of one school doing things this way and one doing it that way,” he said. “I think the study shows we can improve the education of our kids by consolidating. That should be our main concern.” Crause said he also saw the difference    in education between the Wood River-Hartford and East Alton elementary districts. “The whole issue of curriculum coordination is very important. The kids at Hartford get a different education than the kids at East Alton, then all these kids are funneled into one high school, and these kids have a qualitatively different education.” Ufert said he believed the high school also would benefit financially from the consolidation. He said that because of reassessment in the district and a new formula for figuring state aid for high school districts, EA-WR lost more than $600,000 in funding last year. “The high school could be in financial trouble because of the loss of state aid.” “We don’t want to get to the point down the road where we have to cut something.” According to the study, a new unit district could receive $505,468 more in state aid each year than the combined three districts receive. Suspect guilty of murder scheme By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - An Alton man was convicted Friday of trying to lure a Madison County Jail cellmate into arranging the killings of two men he feared could link him to a 1995 homicide. James A. “Raven” Evans, 29, was found guilty by a jury in Madison County Circuit Court of two counts of solicitation of murder and one count each of conspiracy to commit murder and unlawful sale of firearms. Evans sat stone-faced as the verdicts were read by Associate Judge James Hackett after four hours of jury deliberation. Assistant State’s Attorney Keith Jensen said he would seek the maximum prison term. The most substantial charge, solicitation, carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years, but Evans could be sentenced consecutively on each count to ensure a long term, Jensen said. Evans also faces a murder charge, which Jensen said he is ready to try. Evans is accused of slaying Nekemar “Pookie” Pearson, 18, of Alton, in June 1995 and leaving his body in a wooded See GUILTY, Page A-9 Peterson said the East Alton Elementary Board was considering the effect consolidation would have on its district. To initiate the process of consolidation, each of the school boards involved would have to sign a petition and present it to the regional superintendent, or the voters in the district could present a petition of 200 signatures to the regional superintendent. At least 50 of the signatures must come from each of the three individual districts. After going through an approval process in the regional superintendent’s office, the consolidation issue would be placed on the election ballot. The issue would have to pass in all three districts for a consolidation to take place. Ufert said he thinks the issue will be on the April ballot.Good ~ Morning Area/Illinois .. .A-3 Bulletin Board .A-7 Classifieds ... .B-7 Comics B-5 Editorial ......A-4 Horoscope B-6Nation/world .. .A-8 Obituaries A-5 Arisen, Cross, Eberhart, Jarrett, Malson, Musgraves, Schroeder, Schuette, StoryReligion A-6 Television B-6 —k46” BCA BIG SCREEN RGA DVD’s $,0*99' aweek a week MiTac $ Computer ’ ’REGISTER -I-I”* a FULLS WASHER & DR’ •Drawing to bo hold Oct. 1,1 (* TV-104 wks/M,430.96 • DVD-78wks/$779.22 •Computer-1Mwki/$3,534.96' Sin—n wa ■SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 In tho blood First daughter to take on family tradition Page GI Tho outlook Mostly sunny and pleasant. High near 80, low near 61 PageC-l# Cards win Big Mac hits two homers in 7-1 victory “ * Page B-l ;

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