Harvard man charged with attempted murder of deputy pleads not guilty

Randall Little, shot by deputies, faces 80 years in prison if convicted

Randall Little, inset, was shot by McHenry County sheriff's deputies Friday, April 1, 2022, in the 19900 block of Streit Road in Harvard. He was arrested Tuesday.

A Harvard man shot by McHenry County sheriff’s deputies in April pleaded not guilty Thursday to the attempted murder of a McHenry County sheriff’s deputy and a dozen other felonies, which could send him in prison for 80 years.

Randall Little, 58, also will remain held in the McHenry County jail on $500,000 bond after Judge Michael Coppedge denied his attorney’s motion to reduce the bond to $250,000.

Little, who would need to post $50,000 to be released, faces a slew of charges related to the April 1 shooting where he’s accused of firing an assault rifle at McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Gabriela Valencia.

In addition to two counts of attempted murder, he was charged with armed armed violence, two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated intimidation, two counts of unlawful possession of weapons by a felon, intimidation, threatening a public official, unlawful use of a weapon, unauthorized possession of marijuana plants, and two counts of aggravated assault, according to the indictment.

The first-degree attempted murder charge carries a sentencing range of 20 to 80 years if convicted, McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge said during Little’s arraignment Thursday.

During the hearing, Little, who entered the courtroom with a walker and was allowed to sit as the judge read off his charges, also unsuccessfully requested a reduction in his bond.

Little’s wife of 21 years, Nancy Little, testified she could post $25,000 for his release. Because Little cannot drive, his wife said she would drive her husband to all of his court dates. If she had to work, her neighbor could drive him, she said.

Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos said Little suffers from many medical and health issues requiring doctors’ visits and surgeries. He also said Little is not a danger to society and not a flight risk.

After being shot, Little was taken to a Rockford hospital and then to a hospital in Wisconsin, authorities have said. He subsequently was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Rockford, a McHenry County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said. He was arrested last month after being released from the rehab facility.

In arguing Little’s bond should be kept at $500,000, Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Newman described details of what occurred at the Little home the evening of April 1.

Local hospital staff had asked the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office to make a wellbeing check for Little’s wife at their home in the 19000 block of Streit Road. When deputies arrived about 8 p.m., Randy Little came out from his home with two firearms, one in each hand, Newman said. He then went back inside his home and came back outside with a homemade automatic rifle, Newman said.

Little threatened that they all would be leaving his property in a body bag if they did not leave voluntarily, Newman said.

Little is accused in the indictment of “with the intent to kill [Valencia] knowingly and personally discharged a firearm” at her and verbally threatened to kill her if she did not leave his property.

Newman said “numerous firearms” were at Little’s home, which he shares with his wife. He said Little is a felon due to a 1989 conviction.

At one point, he and his wife went to the Walmart in Harvard where he tried to buy ammunition, Newman said. When he was refused, he left and called the store, threatening to kill the manager, he said.

Mourelatos said while he understands the charges against Little are serious, “he is presumed innocent.”

In denying the request for a bond reduction, Coppedge said he is aware of the legitimate health and medical issues Little is suffering, but said the jail is “duty bound” to provide him proper care.

The judge also agreed Little has constitutional rights and the presumption of innocence remains “at every step,” but noted the serious charges and sentencing he is facing.

Little is due back in court July 14.

Three McHenry County sheriff’s deputies were involved in the shooting, authorities have said. All three have been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is pending.

Valencia, sworn into the department as a deputy in September, was the only deputy named in the criminal complaint. The other two deputies have not yet been named but have been with the department six years and 16 years, McHenry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Ellis has said.