Mt. Vernon Register-News

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May 29, 2014

Jury returns split verdict in old case

MT. VERNON — A Jefferson County jury deliberated for about 30 minutes Tuesday before rendering a split conviction in a nearly three-year-old case.

Charles R. Kirk, 49, of Woodlawn, was convicted of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony, and found innocent of unlawful vehicular invasion, a Class 1 felony, according to State's Attorney Doug Hoffman.

"We're satisfied with the verdict," Hoffman said Wednesday. "It appropriately addressed the actions of the defendant."

Kirk is scheduled for a status hearing at 9:30 a.m. July 22 at which time a sentencing date will be scheduled.

Kirk was represented by Assistant Public Defender Todd Ringel.

The defendant was accused of opening the door of the victim's vehicle, entering the vehicle, and assaulting the victim on Oct. 29, 2011. The incident happened in a rural area of the county.

According to testimony offered, the victim was driving with two minors in his vehicle when the defendant's son allegedly drove dangerously close behind the victim's truck for about 20 minutes.

The victim eventually stopped and confronted Kirk's son. He called his father, who was at an ATM in Woodlawn, and told his father he had been threatened. The defendant allegedly pulled in front of the victim and blocked his truck, along with two other vehicles, the victim testified.

From there, both men exited their vehicles when the confrontation escalated. There was a physical altercation, resulting in punches being thrown, although there were differing opinions on who initiated physical contact, according to reports.

"This case happened in 2011 while the defendant was out of custody," Hoffman said. "The challenge for the State is to get these out of custody cases to trial. As a result of this case, we were able to get it off the trial docket, and at the same time, clear out an old case. It had its required day in court."

According to Illinois Statutes, a Class 3 felony is punishable by a term of 2 to 5 years in prison, 2 1/2 years of probation and one year of mandatory supervised release.

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