State Briefs 5/20/09
Man who works as Santa Claus, clown, charged with child porn
SPRINGFIELD – A 50-year-old Springfield man who works part time as a Santa Claus and as a clown has been charged in U.S. District Court with receiving and possessing child pornography.
August Billek, of Springfield, was ordered detained pending trial following his arrest on Monday.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint against Billek, a law enforcement officer on Jan. 22 identified a computer offering to participate in distributing what appeared to be child pornography via a peer-to-peer network.
The officer browsed the computer, which later was identified as Billek’s, and allegedly identified five movie files depicting children engaged in sexual activity, including with adult men and women.
Billek’s girlfriend also resides at the East Miller Street address and operates a home day-care business there for children from 18 months of age through elementary school age, law enforcement officials said.
Billek works part time as “Downtown the Clown” and as Santa Claus during the Christmas season, according to the affidavit. Police officers recovered business cards for “Downtown the Clown” and two Santa suits from Billek’s home.
An initial forensic examination of Billek’s laptop computer included 11 video files of child pornography, the affidavit said. The forensic analysis of his desktop computer is pending.
The offense of receiving child pornography carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and up to 20 years. Possession carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Sheriff denied bond on drug charges
BENTON – Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin was ordered held without bond during a preliminary and detention hearing in Benton Federal Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Martin, 46, of Junction, faces three charges of distribution of marijuana and two charges of carrying a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime. He was arrested Monday at his office in Shawneetown.
A trial date for Martin will be determined after he is formally indicted by a grand jury.
Harrisburg Daily Register
Man accused of burning baby acquitted
PEKIN – A man charged with burning a baby has been acquitted on both charges he faced..
Menchaca, 23, of Peoria Heights, was accused of injuring his 2-year-old son while placing him in hot bath, causing burns. Judge Richard Grawey acquitted Menchaca on two counts of domestic battery, a Class 4 felony, during a discharge hearing in Tazewell County’s 10th Judicial Circuit Court.
During a discharge hearing, the state’s attorney’s office has the burden of establishing proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the state to continue holding a suspect, said Tazewell County State’s Attorney’s Stewart Umholtz.
Doctor’s evaluations presented at previous fitness hearings stated that Menchaca’s metal capability was essentially that of a 5 1/2-year-old because of a previous head injury.
Grawey said the burning could have been an accident because it was the first time Menchaca had used the tub at the house and because of his limited mental capacity,
Mother, son charged with murder after body found
MARION – Two Marion residents were charged with felonies Wednesday afternoon in Williamson County Circuit Court in the death of a man whose body was found in a makeshift grave.
Elmer Atkins Jr. was charged with first-degree murder for allegedly striking and kicking Matthew Lutchen to cause the death on Dec. 4, 2008.
The charge carries a possible prison sentence of 20-60 years and a maximum fine of $25,000.
Atkins' mother, Edna Atkins, was charged with concealing a homicidal death for providing concrete-and-lime mix with which to hide the body.
The Class III felony carries a possible 2-5 year prison sentence, fine up to $25,000 or a maximum of 30 months probation.
Judge Phillip Palmer set bond for Elmer Atkins at $1 million and bond for Edna Atkins at $100,000.
The Atkins were arrested early Tuesday morning at their residence in Marion. Lutchen's body was discovered in a makeshift grave outside Atkins' trailer.
Marion Daily Republican