Marseilles man pleads guilty to firing gunshot that missed motorist

Man avoids prison, sentenced to 180 days in La Salle County Jail


A rural Marseilles man will spend six months in jail and serve 2½ years probation with alcohol restrictions after pleading guilty Tuesday to shooting at a motorist, missing him.

Shawn O’Donnell, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of reckless discharge of a firearm, a Class 4 felony carrying one to three years in prison, and one count of DUI, a misdemeanor. He was set for bench trial Tuesday in La Salle County Circuit Court but then emerged from closed-door discussions with a plea agreement.

O’Donnell avoided prison and instead was sentenced to 180 days in La Salle County Jail, reporting June 17. He has three days credit for time served but is eligible for day-for-day good time and could be released in late September, roughly around the one-year anniversary of the shots fired.

Assistant La Salle County State’s Attorney Jeremiah Adams said in open court had the case gone to trial prosecutors were prepared to call the victim, who would testify he was driving Sept. 20 near Marseilles when he pulled into an abandoned farm near Route 71 and East 24th Road to let pass a silver Dodge Ram that had been following him.

But instead of continuing on the Ram halted and from the passenger compartment emerged a motorist who “fired several rounds” at the victim, who was not struck, Adams said. La Salle County deputies conducted a traffic stop on the Ram, placed O’Donnell into custody and retrieved an unspecified firearm as well as shell casings.

Adams said a lab technician would testify casings retrieved from the vehicle and at the scene matched the gun. (The gun will, as part of the plea, be turned over to an O’Donnell family member.)

O’Donnell declined an opportunity to address Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia before sentencing and his lawyer, Joliet defense attorney Frank Astrella, declined to comment on the disposition.