By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Two Jefferson County men entered amended open pleas to felony charges Wednesday in Jefferson Circuit Court.
Dustin W. Mannen, 27, of Waltonville, and Jacob D. West, 21, of Nason pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery, a Class 1 felony. Charges of armed robbery, home invasion and armed violence — Class X felonies — and a Class 3 felony charge of aggravated battery were dismissed as part of the plea agreement reached between the State and attorneys. West is represented by Mt. Vernon attorney T.J. Parrish and Mannen is represented by Assistant Public Defender Todd Ringel.
Mannen and West could be sentenced between four to 15 years to the Illinois Department of Corrections, up to two years of mandatory supervised release and a maximum four years of probation, Judge David Overstreet announced.
A status hearing is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 28 at which time a sentencing hearing is expected to be scheduled. A pre-sentencing report will be prepared by probation officials prior to the hearing.
According to information provided, Mannen and West were involved in an incident on March 17 in which they robbed and beat Edgar I. Merced, 25, whose last known address was Park Forest.
Jefferson County officials received a 911 call from the Franklin County Sheriff's office shortly before 9 p.m. stating a male subject had telephoned their center reporting a subject being beaten. Deputies collected information and were then dispatched to a Nason residence. No one was home when deputies arrived. Subsequent information gathered informed deputies a male subject was observed walking on East Saddle Club Road near Nason. Shortly before 10 p.m., deputies located Merced along the roadway. He was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Heatlh Center and transferred to a St. Louis hospital with severe head injuries.
A search warrant was produced by State's Attorney Doug Hoffman. The Mt. Vernon Police Department/Jefferson County County Sheriff's Office's High Risk team executed a search warrant a day following the incident and Mannen and West were taken into custody.
Information provided by Assistant State's Attorney Darin Rice during Wednesday's hearing revealed the two men robbed Merced while armed with a deadly weapon.
"I'm sorry for everything," West told the judge, although Overstreet told West he would have an opportunity to make a statement during his sentencing hearing.