Streator man held on charge of possessing gun, ammo

Williams charged as armed habitual criminal

Emmett J. Williams

A Streator man was ordered detained Friday in connection with possessing a .40-caliber pistol and ammunition with a felony record.

Emmett J. Williams, 31, was charged in La Salle County Circuit Court with one count of being an armed habitual criminal and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

The controlling charge is being an armed habitual criminal, a Class X felony carrying six to 30 years in prison with no possibility of probation. The weapon charge is a Class 2 felony carrying three to seven years.

In a news release sent Friday, the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Narcotics Team said a search warrant was executed Thursday at Williams’ residence that yielded a firearm and ammunition. Tri-DENT was assisted by the U.S. Marshal’s Great Lakes Task Force as well as La Salle County authorities.

On Friday, La Salle County prosecutors filed a motion to detain Williams. Illinois abolished cash bonds last year, and felony suspects are detained on a case-by-case basis.

Prosecutor Greg Sticka said drug agents found a .40-caliber Glock with a loaded magazine under Williams’ mattress, which was in an enclosed front porch bedroom. Investigators also found .40-caliber and .22-caliber ammunition, as well as drug paraphernalia, Sticka said.

Sticka said Williams was eligible for the Class X charge because he’s a convicted felon with multiple convictions for unlawful use of a weapon and felony drug conviction.

Although several residents occupied the dwelling, the guns and ammunition were found near pieces of mail bearing Williams’ name and address, the prosecutor said.

“There are no less restrictive alternatives [to jail],” Sticka said, calling Williams a danger to the public.

Assistant La Salle County Public Defender Doug Kramarsic objected. He said the porch was a common area where any of four of five occupants could have kept the gun and ammunition. One of the residents had a firearm owner’s identification card and could have possessed the gun and ammunition lawfully.

“So the idea to pin all this on Mr. Williams is a large stretch,” Kramarsic said, arguing that the prosecutors “cherry-picked” incriminating details in an effort to link Williams to the gun.

“We do not believe that Mr. Williams should be detained,” Kramarsic said. “He’s not a danger to the public.”

La Salle County Circuit Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia ruled that Williams be detained. The judge said Williams had enough convictions – and enough post-conviction restrictions – to know that he cannot be near a gun, much less possess one, and that there was “overwhelming evidence he had access” to the weapons.

“He continues to insist on being around guns and ammunition on a regular basis,” Raccuglia said, notwithstanding convictions.

Williams will next appear for arraignment April 26.

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