Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - August 13, 1999, Alton, Illinois
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Friday, August 13,1999
www.thetelegraph.comDefendant denies murder plot
By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
telegraph staff writer
EDWARDSVILLE - A defendant denied his complicity Thursday in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme uncovered at the Madison County Jail but admitted his lifestyle was designed to mislead authorities.
James A. “Raven” Evans of Alton took the stand Thursday in his own defense during his
conspiracy trial in Madison County Circuit Court.
accused of soliciting a jail cellmate earlier this year to
arrange the killing of two witnesses who allegedly Evans could tie him to the 1995 slaying of Nekemar “Pookie”
Pearson in Godfrey.
During more than an hour of grilling by Assistant State’s Attorney Keith Jensen, Evans denied his involvement in the slaying and said he never told anyone to kill anybody.
The most damaging testimony in the conspiracy case has come from Tommie Rounds, a former Alton resident now living in an undisclosed location. He is a cousin to Evans and a former cellmate who was
released from custody to aid authorities in the investigation.
Rounds testified Tuesday that Evans approached him while both were in jail about killing Alton bar owner Lester Warr and Illinois prison inmate Clifton Wheeler.
Wheeler has testified that he was at the scene when Evans fatally shot Pearson, leaving his naked body in a wooded Godfrey area.
Also at the scene, Wheeler said, was Brian Warr, the son of Lester Warr. Brian Warr was shot to death last September, and authorities believe the man who is accused of killing him, Robert Fletcher of Alton, somehow was put up to the crime by Evans.
They also think Evans viewed Lester Warr as a potential risk, although there has been no testimony to show
that Lester Warr knew anything about the Pearson killing.
Evans testified it was Rounds, not he, who first suggested Wheeler might try to pin Pearson’s killing on Evans.
Rounds approached authorities after allegedly being told of the murder plot and agreed to wear a recording device to
■ See PLOT, Page A-9
Gerard Fischer, kneeling, and David Wilkinson, who have homes in the 3600 block of West Delmar In Godfrey that have been hit by cars leaving the roadway, would like to see a guardrail on the curve to contain out-of-control drivers. Below, Bob Richey, an employee of Tycon Builders in Alton, works to re-wire a section of wan being replaced at the Fischer home after an accident Saturday in which the driver was killed.
Residents seek guardrails
By REBECCA HOPKINS
Telegraph staff writer
GODFREY - Residents in the 3600 block of West Delmar Avenue at Illinois Route 3 are reorganizing an effort to have guardrails erected to prevent damage and fatalities.
Several houses have been hit by cars. The most recent accident occurred Saturday when a Jersey County man was killed after he hit the home of jrard Fischer, 3614 Delmar Ave.
Fischer said estimated damages to his house were $10,000.
The car driven by Richard Burris, 63,
left the road about 150 _
yards east of
Fischer’s house, where s curve begins. Burns car sheared off a utility pole before hitting
Fischer’s house. . .
“Several of us (the neighbors) tried this in 1997,” Fischer said. “The Illinois Department of Transportation investigated and said a guardrail was not warranted.”
The group of neighbors is most concerned tor the safety of their families. When Fischer s
ii Tt’s scary to walk out your lfront door and always have to look for a car coming across the yard.”
house was hit Saturday evening, the car narrowly missed his family room.
“Luckily, I was the only one at home at the time. But my 4-year-old son and I frequently play ball in the yard. If this happened during the day, one of us could be killed. Ifs scary to walk out your front door and always have to look for a car coming across the yard.”
Fischer also said his gas line is on the east side of his house, so he has an additional worry of fire and explosion.
Two accidents in 1997 were the impetus for contacting IDOT. On Jan. I, 1997, a pickup truck veered off the road, knocked down a telephone pole — and slammed through
Tony Howell’s garage.
The Howells were awakened at 2 a m. when the truck hit the garage and damaged their car and truck. Howell said the vehicles in the driveway prevented the pickup from hitting the bedroom where his son was sleeping. The total damage to their property was about $8,000.
■ See GUARDRAILS, Page A-9
Eagle One to start hiring next month
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By BETHANY BEHRHORST
Telegraph staff writer
BETHALTO - An aviation company bringing up to 350 jobs to the area hopes to welcome its first IOO local employees to its newly renovated site in Bethalto as soon as next month.
Eagle One Aviation, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is working on solidifying a deal with Erzinger Investment Corp. of Columbia for a piece of property and some buildings at St. Louis Regional Airport. The headquarters will be at the former AEL site off of Airline Drive.
The deal has been in the works for more than four months.
The company has more qualified candidates than jobs to fill, which will make the selection process tough, Eagle One officials said.
“The quality %of resumes we’ve received is very high,”
said Boyd Burton, chairman of the board for Eagle One.
He said he anticipates the business will bring up to 350 jobs to the area. Many of the qualified applicants are highly trained machinists who were laid off this year from Boeing Co. in St. Louis.
Burton said the company
plans to start filling IOO of the projected 350 jobs in late September or early October.
The company specializes in “shoring out” — or stripping the interiors of — commercial jetliners, such as Boeing 727s and 737s, and converting them
Bi See EAGLE, Page A-9
Bev 'I Farm passes testsState team declares most violations fixed
By LINDA N. WELLER
Telegraph staff writer
GODFREY — Beverly Farm Foundation officials announced Thursday that a team of state inspectors determined the home has corrected 15 of 16 patient-care violations discovered in June.
However, the five-member team from the Illinois Department of Public Health also reportedly found two more “minor” violations during its five-day follow-up inspection, which began Aug. 4 and concluded Tuesday.
“They found two dietary violations; they are minor things,” said Monte Welker, executive director of Beverly Farm Foundation. “A couple of residents had family-style eating in their (individual care) plans, and we were providing them dishes” of food.
The second new violation, he said, was not having enough supervisors present while residents ate.
Tom Schafer, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, confirmed that the new problems are not severe.
■ See FARM, Page A-9Goon Morning
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