Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

March 22, 2013

Lack of evidence leads to lesser charge in hate crime

One of the three men accused of participating in the racially motivated beating of a man outside an Altamont bar a year ago pleaded guilty Thursday to a lesser charge — after a prosecutor admitted in open court he didn’t have enough evidence to get a conviction on the original charges.

Kevin L. Gasper, 41, of Effingham, pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct in connection with the beating of Trenton Smith in and outside Tip’s Corner Tavern in Altamont last March 4. Gasper had been charged with aggravated battery, hate crime and mob action in connection with the Smith beating, but Special Prosecutor David Rands told Judge Ericka Sanders Thursday he didn’t have the evidence to convict Gasper on those charges.

“There is no evidence that Mr. Gasper ever made contact with Mr. Smith,” Rands said.

Sanders sentenced Gasper to 30 days in county jail, but gave him credit for time served after he was originally arrested. While Gasper was fined $385, Sanders waived payment of the fine for time served and said she believes the bond he posted after serving 77 days in county jail would cover any court costs — and probably give him some money left over.

William Coleman, considered to be the instigator of the fight, is already serving a five-year prison term for his role in the beating. A third defendant, Justin Antrim, 38, of Teutopolis, had a new court date set for 10 a.m. April 23.

Antrim attorney Scott Ealy said he was close to a deal with prosecutors. But Ealy said he’s taking a job with the state’s attorney’s office on April 1 and withdrew from the case.

Antrim’s original attorney, Bryan Kibler, had to withdraw after he was elected state’s attorney’s last fall.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • McCarter.jpg Some lawmakers donate pay

    Illinois lawmakers restoring their pay after years of furlough days has prompted some state representatives to give back to their communities — a move some local lawmakers call a political one.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Distance learning catching on in area

    In what appears to be a growing trend among rural school districts, a third area school district may join an existing academic cooperative.

    July 27, 2014

  • Joshua Robison.jpg Opinion: God doesn't care about party affiliation

    Reflecting on what we politely refer to in this country as “political discourse,” I am often struck by how convinced many people seem to be that their sides' specific policies and personalities are the only way to save us all from utter ruin.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ron W.jpg Opinion: Column break just that -- a break

    ‘Hey, Ron. You didn’t have a column this week. What’s the deal? It’s the reason I buy a paper on Thursdays.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Isom.jpg Opinion: It's about time

    Finally, someone else speaks up and it’s about time.
    I applaud Ron Worman and welcome him to take a seat on my bandwagon. His addressing the proliferation of signs of every description, virtually everywhere one looks, is a welcome additional voice — even though rare.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds: Effingham County was meeting place for underage sex tryst

    An Ohio man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he traveled out of state to meet an underage person in Effingham County for sexual activity.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jail inmate attempts suicide

    An unscheduled cell check is credited for saving the life of an Effingham County Jail inmate who tried to hang himself early Thursday morning.

    July 25, 2014

  • Woman injured in Farina collision

    An accident on Washington Street sent one driver to the hospital Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Driver crashes after being forced off road

    A driver crashed after being run off the road by a semi on Interstate 70.

    July 25, 2014

  • Rollover on I-70 sends one to hospital

    An accident on Interstate-70 sent one traveler to the hospital.

    July 25, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.