State Briefs 3/31/09
Man involved in struggle with police dies, cause unclear
FREEPORT – A cause of death is still uncertain for a man who died after being shot with a Taser by Freeport police last week.
Marcus D. Moore, 40, of Freeport died early Saturday morning at Rockford Memorial Hospital. Moore was hospitalized after allegedly struggling with police on March 26. During the incident, officers deployed a Taser on Moore, but police say it is unclear whether the use of the Taser contributed to the suspect’s death.
Moore was initially taken to FHN Memorial Hospital, but was transferred to Rockford Memorial Hospital on Friday afternoon. He died at the Rockford hospital at 3:26 a.m. on Saturday, March 28.
Moore allegedly robbed a 47-year-old man on March 26, and was apprehended by police later that evening at an apartment. During the arrest, Moore allegedly resisted and injured a female police officer, and at some point the Taser was deployed.
Local police have asked the Illinois State Police to conduct an independent investigation of the incident to determine whether Freeport police officers handled the situation properly. Freeport Deputy Police Chief Robert Smith said his department’s internal investigation has already indicated that officers acted appropriately, but that police officials thought it would be best in this case to also request an independent investigation.
Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia said Moore’s autopsy was completed Monday, but that she could release no information on Moore’s cause of death until further toxicological and forensic testing is completed.
Man accused of killing brother with oxygen tank
SPRINGFIELD – A Springfield man is accused of killing his brother by hitting him in the head with an oxygen tank.
Dennis W. Petitt, 59, was arrested Monday. An autopsy Monday showed the victim, Anthony Petitt, 51, died of a head injury. He was pronounced dead at 2 a.m., according to a news release from the Sangamon County coroner.
The incident happened about 1 a.m. Monday at the Lincoln Place Mobile Home Park. The Petitts and at least one other man lived in the trailer. The third man, who was not involved in the altercation, called 911 to report the homicide, authorities said.
Dennis Petitt met Sangamon County deputies and Riverton police at the front door when they arrived. They went inside and found Anthony Petitt lying on a couch unresponsive. Paramedics confirmed he was dead.
Former TV reporter gets jail time for defrauding government
SPRINGFIELD – A former television reporter is headed to prison after admitting he stole more than a half-million dollars from the government.
Robert Sullinger, a former reporter for WICS-TV, pleaded guilty in November to submitting false bills for an anti-DUI campaign. Prosecutors said he submitted false bills to the Illinois Department of Transportation for anti-DUI billboards that were never installed. The money came from the U.S Department of Transportation and the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office.
Sullinger was sentenced Monday to 41 months in prison. He was also ordered to repay more than $500,000.
Sullinger’s trial was under way in November when he ended the proceedings by pleading guilty to three felonies, including two counts of making false claims and one count of making a false statement to FBI agents.
Police still investigating bomb threat at bank
ROCKFORD – Police still are investigating a threat made at a local bank that forced the bank’s evacuation Monday morning.
Fifth Third Bank, in the 1000 block of South Alpine Road, was evacuated around 10 a.m., police said, after a disgruntled customer said he was going to blow up the building after becoming upset about an account he had at the bank.
Police officials searched inside and around the building. The bank was reopened an hour later.
No arrests have been made.
Rockford Register Star