Judge denies Mt. Morris man’s request for release

Darren T. Barker, June 2024

OREGON – An Ogle County judge denied a Mount Morris man’s request June 5 to be released from jail as his case proceeds through the court system.

Darren Barker, 53, is charged with the felony offenses of possessing and intending to deliver between 15 and 100 grams of cocaine and methamphetamine after a search of his apartment in the 100 block of East Front Street.

He is also charged with possessing ammunition as a felon.

The Mount Morris Police Department, assisted by the Oregon Police Department, executed a search warrant at Barker’s residence at 9:20 p.m. May 27 after an investigation that police said lasted several months.

The Ogle County State’s Attorney’s Office has said that in addition to the methamphetamine and cocaine, police also found $895 in cash, a shotgun and 9 mm ammunition.

Barker pleaded not guilty to the charges as he appeared in front of Judge John Redington with his attorney, Ogle County Public Defender William Gibbs.

Gibbs asked that Barker be released from custody because of health reasons and argued that his client was not a flight risk and could wear a GPS monitor. He also said Barker was not home at the time of the search.

“There is no indication he is a danger,” Gibbs said.

Ogle County Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Leisten disagreed, adding that Barker had three pending felony cases.

“This is his most serious offense,” Leisten said.

Redington denied the request for release and set Barker’s next hearing for 1:30 p.m. June 13.

Barker was charged in January with delivery of methamphetamine and forgery. Prosecutors said those offenses occurred in December 2023 and have filed a motion to revoke his pretrial release in that case.

Darlene E. Thompson, 53, also was arrested after the May 27 search and has been charged with possession of a controlled substance – cocaine and possession of ammunition as a felon. Her preliminary hearing took place at 10 a.m. June 12.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.