18-year-old Mount Morris man charged with attempted murder freed, to get treatment

Malachi M. Voight in February 2024

OREGON – An 18-year-old Mount Morris man charged with attempted murder was released from jail Thursday with a list of conditions that he must obey to remain free, including obtaining inpatient mental health treatment.

On Feb. 14, Malachi M. Voight hit a 62-year-old man in the head with a dumbbell and tried to strangle him, and he also bit off a piece of a toe of a 60-year-old woman, the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.

All three were treated at KSB Hospital in Dixon. Voight was arrested upon his release 14 days later on Feb. 27. His physical injuries, if any, were not specified.

A detention hearing was held two days later, on Thursday, at which the state failed to persuade Judge Ben Roe “by clear and convincing evidence” – as required by the Pretrial Fairness Act, also known as the SAFE-T Act – that the following three conditions existed in order for Voight to be held:

• That the proof is evident or the presumption is great that Voight committed a detainable offense under the act

• That he poses a real and present threat to the safety of any person(s) or to the community

• That no condition or combination of conditions can mitigate the real and present threat or the risk of Voight’s willful flight to avoid prosecution

His defense team at Tess, Krull & Arnquist, which is based in Rochelle, released a statement Friday, noting: “We believe the court properly considered all relevant factors, including Malachi’s age, the wishes of the alleged victims to have Malachi released, and Malachi’s desire to further participate in mental health services, which were ordered by the court.”

According to the terms of his release, Voight, formerly of Rockford, must stay at a home in Machesney Park when not in treatment; wear a GPS monitoring bracelet; attend school; check in daily with the Ogle County probation department and comply with any recommendations from its staff; and not break any laws or consume any alcohol or nonprescription drugs.

Voight, who turned 18 four months ago, also is charged with two counts of aggravated battery of a person older than 60 and two counts of aggravated battery. He has a preliminary hearing March 7.

According to the sheriff’s office post, deputies responding to an altercation at the Mount Morris Estates Trailer Park at 3:40 a.m. found Voight and the two people fighting. The pair suffered serious injuries, it said.

Attempted murder is punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and each of the battery charges carries three- to seven-year sentences. If convicted of any of the charges, Voight must serve 85% of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

When reached by phone at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, the person who police said was hit by the dumbbell said that he was at home and recovering, and that Voight “is a good kid” with mental health issues who was having an episode.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.