Columns | Daily Chronicle

Eye On Illinois: Downstate murder suspect allowed to leave jail before his trial

Even as cash bail formally ended in Illinois Monday, its proponents couldn’t stop banging the rhetorical drum.

“The end of cash bail means the legal deck is stacked against the victim and community in favor of the criminal,” House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, said Monday morning. “This law makes it more difficult for police officers and prosecutors to keep our communities safe.”

It’s not an uncommon sentiment among McCombie’s GOP colleagues, yet it’s hard to find any of them going on record about what happened in Madison County, where the Edwardsville Intelligencer reported a 52-year-old man was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the Sept. 5. shooting death of a woman at her Troy home.

Intelligencer Editor Penny Weaver said local police reported the suspect, believed to have a relationship with the woman, “was standing at the front door of the townhome with his hands above his head when officers arrived.” Inside was a victim with multiple gunshot wounds; emergency responders failed to keep her alive.

Three days later, according to Weaver, the suspect was no longer in detention, having paid 10% of his $1 million bond. He’s due in court at 9 a.m. Friday. Weaver reported the suspect is a U.S. Army veteran who faced McHenry County domestic battery accusations in 2002; prosecutors dropped the charge in 2003.

Without cash bail as an option, the suspect would’ve spent the last two weeks in county lockup, and he’d generally be there outside of court appearances as the criminal trial proceeds. Instead, he found the money to buy time at home. That’s the system proponents fought to preserve, including the Madison County state’s attorney who helped the ultimately unsuccessful legal challenge seeking to block the reform.

“Accused killer pays $100,000 to leave county jail” isn’t the whole story, but it’s enough information to question how the old system stacks the legal deck – and in whose favor.

STADIUM STORIES: It’s been a rough two weeks for the Chicago Bears on the field, while business outside the lines isn’t exactly ideal as team leaders announced they won’t work to advance legislation helping their suburban real estate dreams during the fall veto session late next month.

Bears officials might consider reading up on other proposals throughout the country. A good starting point is Nasvhille, where the former mayor dropped out of a once-winnable re-election campaign because his support of a massive incentive package for a new Tennessee Titans stadium became toxic.

Also worth following are the Milwaukee Brewers’ attempts to bleed taxpayers for ballpark upgrades and the Tampa Bay Rays expecting to pay at least half for a new $1.2 billion stadium and selling team shares to help cover the remainder.

• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at

Scott Holland

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at