Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

January 24, 2013

Hate trial pushed back; pretrial set for March 6

EFFINGHAM — Despite the protests of one defendant, the case of two men accused of participating in what authorities say was a race-related beating in and outside an Altamont bar was again delayed during a Wednesday morning hearing in Effingham County Circuit Court.

Kevin L. Gasper, 41, of Effingham, and Justin R. Antrim, 36, of Teutopolis, are charged with aggravated battery, hate crime and mob action in connection with the March 4 beating of Trenton Smith in and outside Tip's Corner Tavern. A third defendant, William J. Coleman, of Watson, has already pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Both Gasper and Antrim have claimed Coleman was the main player in the fight. But because Antrim's attorney, Bryan Kibler, was elected state's attorney last year, creating a conflict of interest, David Rands of the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's office entered his appearance in Judge Ericka Sanders' court Wednesday.

Rands told the judge he needs time to review medical records in connection with the case. But during his brief appearance before the judge, Gasper said the case has gone on long enough.

"I just want to get this over with," he said. "It's been going on for a year."

Rands asked the judge to give him at least 45 days to review the case files. Sanders set a March 6 pretrial date for both men. Jury selection for both defendants is set for April 8.

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

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