Court Updates from 8/22/2022

Chris Wheaton:  Christopher Wheaton, 44, of Kewanee ran for Kewanee City Council in 2019 and has been in the Henry County Jail since May 4, 2021, on a $500,000 (10%) bond.  Christopher Wheaton began his Final Pre-Trial Hearing by asking Judge Patton if he could talk to him “before we start”.  After going on record, Judge Patton allowed Mr. Wheaton to speak.  Wheaton told Judge Patton “It’s stuff that’s happening in your jail”.  Mr. Wheaton made allegations but did not back up the accusations when asked by Judge Patton if the allegations were from him or other inmates.  Wheaton said he sent two letters to the State’s Attorney’s Office, one about a 402 Conference and one regarding treatment in the jail.  Assistant State’s Attorney (ASA) Barrick said their office received one letter from Mr. Wheaton “complaining about being in jail so long” and stating he wanted a 402 Conference.  Defense Attorney, Mr. Camp, said the defendant hasn’t discussed a 402 Conference with him.  The final lab report was expected on August 22, 2022.  ASA Barrick said the state if ready for trial.  Judge Patton told ASA Barrick to forward any letter about the jail to the Sheriff.

A Jury Trial is scheduled for September 6 and 7, 2022.  The trial begins at 9 AM each day.  Mr. Wheaton is alleged to have committed criminal sexual acts with two juvenile females in January of 2020.  The State filed charges of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault/Victim under 13 (Class X Felony) and Criminal Sexual Assault/Family Member under 18 (Class 1 Felony).

William Merritt III:  William Merritt III remains in custody on a $150,000 (10%) bond. Merritt has three open cases, the most recent charge is in connection to an altercation that resulted in a male subject suffering serious injuries from a stabbing.  At the Final Pre-Trial hearing, Defense Attorney Camp requested a Motion to Continue.  The State is waiting on one subpoena from a hospital, the hospital indicated they have the files ready to send.  The subpoena is from the most recent case for Aggravated Battery.  During the proceedings, Mr. Merritt told his attorney that he doesn’t want a continuance and demanded a speedy trial.  Based on the Defendants request for a Speed Trial, Jury Trial for case 2021CF381 is scheduled for October 6, 2022, at 9 AM.  Cases 2021CF382 and 2022CF191 are set for Status on October 6th.

Merritt is charged with Possession of Meth <5 Grams (Class 3 Felony) and Delivery of Meth <5 Grams (Class 2 Felony) for 2021CF381.  He is charged with Theft $500<$10,000 (Class 3 Felony), Criminal Damage to Government Property $500-$10,000 (Class 3 Felony), Theft/Unauthorized Control <$500 (Class A Misdemeanor), and Criminal Damage to Government Property <$500 (Class 4 Felony) for 2021CF382.  The most recent charge against William Merritt III is Aggravated Battery/Greater Bodily harm (Class 3 Felony) for 2022CF191.

Alan Yelm:  Alan Yelm, 33, of Galva accepted a Plea deal on August 22, 2022.  Yelm pleaded guilty to Grooming and the State will dismiss the two counts of Possession of Child Pornography.  State offered evidence that Mr. Yelm used an app, named Kik, to communicate with minors between January 27th and March 9th.  A search warrant gathered phones and laptops from the residence of Mr. Yelm.  The warrant found conversations between Alan Yelm and minors under 18 years of age.  Yelm was attempting to meet with and request nude photos from people he knew to be minors.  Alan Yelm is sentenced to 180 days in jail with day-for-day credit, 30 months probation, $1,000 fine and non-waivable fees and assessments, Register as a Sex Offender, receive Sex Offender Evaluation and Treatment, and Have No contact with any minors not related to him.  Alan Yelm was charged with Grooming (Class 4 Felony) and two counts of Possession of Child Pornography (Class 3 Felony).

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