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View Sample Pages : Alton Telegraph, December 11, 1999

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - December 11, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 WF ___ SKv ■Bi. ^ gar rn JLN ^88 M, E/% |__I *1WKm Tigers fall to Collinsville OI Page Bl Vol. 164, No. 330 - 50 cents Partly sunny and pleasant; High 45, low 33 Page D12 Saturday, Decenber 11,1999 Wrap up your last minute shopping; great gift ideas Section D Man convicted of murder By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE — Jeffrey A. Ewing was convicted Friday of a 1996 Alton murder, and on the same day, was charged with four other men in an earlier slaying that long was considered a pedestrian fatality. A Madison County Circuit Court jury took just two hours Friday to find Ewing guilty of first-degree murder in the Dec. 15, 1996, shooting death of Dwight “Eggie” Riddlespriger of Alton. Within minutes of the verdict, a judge unsealed a suppressed indictment charging Ewing with the Jan Ewing charged same day in earlier murder 20, 1996, murder of Antonio L. Ray, 20, whose body was found on U.S. Route 367 in West Alton, Mo. Ewing, 34, is accused of acting with four other men in using a pistol, baseball bat, feet and fists to beat Ray at a house in Alton. Two of the suspects allegedly drove Ray across the Clark Bridge and dumped his body on the northbound lanes of Route 367, where he was struck by an Alton motorist, police said. Authorities are not positive when or where Ray died. “We don't know if it was at the house, in the trunk on the way to the scene or on the roadway,” said Detective Scott Golike of the Alton Police Department. All of those charged Friday are in custody. They all are identified as members of the Gangster Disciples gang, Golike said. Ray was believed to have been killed in a dispute over drug money, he said. Charged in addition to Ewing are: Brendon D. Wallace, 25, who is in Pontiac Correctional Center, serving time in the first-degree murder of Michael Hubbard in 1997 in Alton. Michael H. Tate, 35, who is serving a second-degree murder term in Graham Correctional Center for a 1996 Alton killing. Eddie Alexander, 29, who is in federal lockup in St. Clair County, awaiting sentencing in a federal drug case out of Alton Ramondo D. Alexander, 20, who was taken into custody by Alton police on Thursday night. Ramondo is Eddie Alexander’s nephew. Others may be charged as witness statements are gathered, Golike said. Ray s death is the latest example of gang warfare that has plagued Alton the last few years. Ewing was deemed to be the head of the Alton unit of the Gangster Disciples, and Eddie Alexander was his second-in-command. Golike said. The victim was lying motionless, directly in the roadway and across the centerline, when he was struck by John Bellitto, 26, of Alton. Bellitto told police he could not avoid him because Ray was wearing dark-colored clothes and the area was ■ See MURDER, Page A7 CONSTRUCTION SERVICES, INC. The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Gary Vondrasek of Edwardsville holds a north and east German broadaxe that he used in restoration efforts on the historic Bethalto log cabin. Vondrasek used period tools and materials to make his efforts on the cabin as authentic as possible.Clark negotiations cease with Equilon By KERRY SMITH "telegraph staff writer HARTFORD — The parent firm of Wood River Refining Co. announced Friday that negotiations have ceased with Clark USA Inc. in the proposed sale of the facility known Refinery will look elsewhere for sale locally as the Shell refinery. Equilon Enterprises LLC spokesman Dave McKinney said since Clark and Equilon signed the original letter of intent June 3, sale negotiations slowed because of a number of detailed factors, including the local refinery facility itself, questions of oil supply and production, logistics, utilities and financial conditions. “Equilon and Clark have been unable to reach agree ment on terms and conditions of the sale and are no longer pursuing a deal,” McKinney said. “Equilon will continue to evaluate all options for its Wood River refinery, including a sale to another qualified buyer.” ■ See CLARK, Page A7 Beauty in winter Historic log cabin to be dedicated 1830s dwelling found under modem home By DAVE WHALEY Telegraph staff writer BETHALTO — Almost two years after a house fire in Bethalto, the historic remains of that fire will be dedicated Sunday. The four-bedroom home of Robert and Sally Sparks burned on March 30, 1998. While pulling down sheet rock walls in the destroyed house, Robert Sparks discovered that the house had been built around a log cabin from the 1830s. A fund-raising drive among Bethalto youth resulted in more than I million pennies ($10,000) to finance the restoration of the Bethalto Log Cabin. It stands next to the Bethalto Historical Museum and will be dedicated in a brief ceremony at 4:45 p.m. Sunday during the Bethalto Spirit Victorian Christmas Walk. The dedication will include the unveiling of a $500 bronze plaque describing the work that has been done on the cabin. The Bethalto Rotary Club has donated the plaque. Village Trustee Mike Dreith said he is submitting the project to the Governor’s Home Town Awards Committee. “This is the first and longest phase of the project,” Bethalto Mayor Steve Bryant said. “There is still a lot of work to do on the windows and doors. But we’ve got the upper story and roofing done. We’re very happy with how it turned out.” A lot of the thanks goes to Gary Vondrasek of Edwardsville, a professional restoration specialist. He spent countless hours working on the upper portion of the cabin over the past few months. Nearly $12,000 was raised in the “History Makes Cents” campaign through the ■ See CABIN, Page A7 Second pupil makes death threat at school By THOMAS WRAUMANN Telegraph staff writer KAMPSVILLE - Another Calhoun Middle School pupil was in juvenile custody for allegedly writing a death threat note in a second, separate incident from the one earlier this week, school officials said Friday. In the first incident, a sixth-grade boy was taken into custody Thursday morning at the school in Kampsville after allegedly writing a note titled “Death List” naming 12 pupils and also saying “all teachers.” Calhoun School District Superintendent Terry Strauch said the second boy, a special education pupil, was taken into custody Thursday evening after writing a note Tuesday at school threatening the life of his teachers. He was sus- ■ See THREAT, Page A7 JNB ti rn The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN An iris, apparently confused by the continuing moderate weather, was in full bloom Thursday at Associated Bank at 104 E. Homer Adams Parkway in Alton. Irises in several locations have been fooled by recent temperatures that seem more like spring than winter. Area/Illinois..........A3 Bulletin Board........A6 Business............Cl Editorial.............A4 Nation/world   A8 Obituaries...........A5 Allen, Bowman, Davis, Lacey, Lattin, McDade, Plovich, Reisinger, Ruyle, Seibert Scoreboard..........B2 Officer’s fate to be made public at Dec. 21 meeting By KATHLEEN HILL Assistant city editor SOUTH ROXANA — The fate of a South Roxana police sergeant who mistook a longtime village resident for a suspect in a home invasion won’t be made public until the village board’s Dec. 21 meeting. The South Roxana Village Board’s Police Committee met in closed session Friday night to review the incident. The committee examined written and verbal statements, as well as the 35-minute dispatch recording made Nov. 24 when Sgt. Robert Coles, 27, and two other officers from the South Roxana Police Department stopped Darrell Williams, 61, outside Williams’ daughter’s house. The incident occurred the night before Thanksgiving. ■ See FATE, Page A7 —^ ...... ;