Posted in the Benton Forum
#1 Nov 11, 2008
MARION — As part of a negotiated plea, the third of four police officers linked to the alleged beating of Derek Wynn of Herrin in August 2007 pleaded guilty to three charges Monday in Williamson County Circuit Court.
Michael Carruthers pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property, a Class 4 felony; criminal trespass to property, a misdemeanor; and battery, a misdemeanor. As part of the deal, all other charges against Carruthers have been dropped by the state.
Carruthers had applied for a position with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department prior to the incident in Herrin.
For his admitted role in the incident, Carruthers received a 12-month conditional discharge, plus a $2,500 fine and assorted court costs. He must also pay restitution to Wynn in the amount of $300. Because of the felony conviction, Carruthers will not be eligible to work in law enforcement again.
“I felt strongly that Mr. Carruthers was the least culpable of the three that have pled guilty to felonies so far,” said State’s Attorney Charles Garnati.“He was a follower, not a leader.”
Had the case gone to trial, Garnati informed Judge John Speroni that he had witnesses that would testify that Carruthers had participated in an argument with Wynn at Chevie’s Lounge in Herrin, had followed him home in the presence of other suspect officers and had knocked out one of the windows on Wynn’s vehicle.
Asked if he was relieved that the case had reached its conclusion, Carruthers politely said,“Yes, sir” and quickly exited the courthouse.
His attorney, public defender Alex Fine, said he also was glad the case was over and described Carruthers as “a truly good young man who wants to move on with his life.”
This past summer, Kyle Murray, a former Energy police officer, pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal damage to property in excess of $300, a felony, and two misdemeanor charges of battery and criminal trespass to real property in the Wynn case. All other charges were dropped. Murray was fined $7,500 and was also ordered to pay court costs and restitution to the victim.
Kyle Rinella, a former Williamson County Sheriff's Department deputy, pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced to 30 months probation.
Clint Ronchetto is the fourth and final police officer said to be linked with the Wynn beating. A Herrin police officer, Ronchetto has not entered into a plea agreement with the state and his case has not yet been heard.
“I want to make it clear that the rumors that I might dismiss charges against Mr. Ronchetto are totally false,” Garnati said.“We will continue to prosecute the case.”
Garnati maintained that he does not have strained relations with any of the Williamson County police departments.
“I’m just doing the job I was elected to do,” he said.---------I'm just wondering what people think of this. I went to school with Ronchetto and the guy is a grade A nutcase. I hope they send him to a federal "pound me in the ass" facility. That guy should have NEVER been given the job as a cop!
#2 Nov 11, 2008
I admire a State's Attorney who isn't afraid to prosecute, especially when it's against the people who take the oath to serve and protect and uphold the law by wearing the badge!
One thing for sure, Garnati is a great state's attorney. That's something you don't find in alot of counties.
There are a few that do wear the badge that shouldn't be able to!!
#4 Nov 13, 2008
We need somebody to get some of these cops over here in Harrisburg under control. Saline county is so screwed up it is not funny.
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