Christopher B. Gallatin, Walter L. West and Jamie L. Charlton merged for web

Left to Right: Christopher B. Gallatin, Walter L. West and Jamie L. Charlton.

Three men have been charged with murder in the death of Roger Courson, 80, during a home invasion at his residence near Edgewood, according to Illinois State Police.

The Office of Clay County State’s Attorney Andrew T. Koester on Oct. 4 charged Walter L. West, 30, of Edgewood, and Christopher B. Gallatin, 27, of Centralia, with one count each of first-degree murder (accountability), a Class M Criminal felony; first-degree murder, a Class M Criminal felony; and residential burglary, a Class 1 Criminal felony.

That office on Oct. 6 charged Jamie L. Charlton, 39, of Salem, with the same three counts. The charges allege that they either committed the acts or acted as accomplices in the residential burglary and killing of Courson, according to a press release.

These charges resulted from an incident that occurred on Sept. 25, when Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 8 officials were requested by the Clay County Sheriff’s Department to assist with a death investigation and suspected home invasion. Courson was found deceased in his home near Edgewood on Sept. 26.

Police said following Crime Stoppers tips provided by the public to the Clay County Sheriff’s Department and Effingham Police Department, suspects were developed in the case. Based on information gathered during the investigation, West and Gallatin were taken into custody on Sept. 30, and a Clay County judge found probable cause to detain them on Oct. 1.

Charlton was taken into custody on Oct. 6.

Bond on the above charges against West and Gallatin was set at $2.5 million each, with 10% to apply for bail. Bond on the charges against Charlton will be set at his first appearance on Oct. 8.

West, Gallatin and Charlton remain in custody at Clay County Jail.

ISP DCI Zone 8 was assisted by the Clay and Marion County sheriff’s departments, Centralia Police Department and the Clay County State’s Attorney’s Office.

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