State Briefs 5/2/08

Woman charged after driving with boyfriend on hood

ROCKFORD – A woman was charged Thursday night with reckless driving after driving around on Cunningham Street with her boyfriend on the hood of her car.

Police said it’s unclear whether the woman’s boyfriend jumped on the hood of her car to avoid being struck by the car or if he ended up there because she hit him.

The boyfriend suffered minor injuries.

The incident occurred at 9:40 p.m.

Rockford Register Star

Former TV anchor alleges discrimination in lawsuit

ROCKFORD – Former WIFR-23 news anchor Mimi Murphy has sued the television station’s parent company, Gray Television Group, for age and sex discrimination and breach of contract.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Rockford’s federal court, alleges that the station interfered with her TelePrompTer during newscasts, forced her to cancel all personal appearances and created obstacles to interfere with her job performance.

The station then fired her and replaced her with a much younger news anchor, she said, all because she was a woman older than 40.

Greg Graber, WIFR-23 vice president and general manager, said Thursday that he has heard about the lawsuit, but has not seen it. WIFR-23 is Rockford’s CBS affiliate station.

According to the suit, Murphy, 43, began her employment with Gray Television in June 1993 as a news anchor and was fired in July 2006.

Murphy, a Rockford resident, wants her job back, back wages and benefits, front pay, damages for mental anguish and emotional distress, attorney fees and costs of the suit.

Rockford Register Star

Man beaten by mob

SPRINGFIELD – A man was struck in the head with a brick, kicked and robbed by a mob of men – all friends of his daughter's ex-boyfriend – during a confrontation Wednesday night.

The 37-year-old victim was taken to the emergency room at Memorial Medical Center, where he was treated for a one-inch cut on the right side of his face near his temple.

No arrests have been made.

Police were sent to the area about 8:50 p.m. after receiving a report of a large fight in the street, and they arrived to find the victim unconscious with several people standing around him.

The victim's 15-year-old daughter told police she was outside their home in the 2000 block of Montgomery Street talking to her ex-boyfriend, when her father walked out of their house and began yelling at her for talking to the boy. She said her father was intoxicated and angry because he doesn't like her ex-boyfriend.

She started walking away, and her former boyfriend and her father started following Words were exchanged, and the youth ran to a nearby resident to gather a group of his friends.

She told police about a dozen people, including the ex-boyfriend, attacked her father, and one struck him with a brick. She added that others kicked her father and someone took his wallet, but that the group scattered before police arrived, and that she could not provide identifies.

State Journal-Register

Trial postponed for parents accused of starving baby

PEORIA – The trial for two parents accused of starving their five-month-old son to death earlier this year was postponed Friday until August.

During a brief hearing, Peoria County Circuit Judge James Shadid allowed a motion by defense attorney William Loeffel to continue the trial of Tracy Hermann and James Sargent on Aug. 4. A May 12 trial date was initially set when the couple was arraigned but all sides privately had stated that was not a firm date.

Loeffel, who represents Sargent, also has subpoenaed mental health records for his client. A May 30 hearing was set to review those records.

The couple is accused of forcing the infant, Benjamin Sargent, to go without food or water while leaving him in a car seat. The baby was found in a snowsuit he was wearing eight days after he had been dropped off at the home.

After the hearing, Peoria County State’s Attorney Kevin Lyons said he has not decided whether he will seek the death penalty. State law allows a capital charge if the accused is older than 17 and the victim is younger than 12.

Journal Star, Peoria

Urbana man sentenced to prison for tax evasion

PEORIA -- An Urbana man was sentenced Thursday to more than a year in federal prison for tax evasion.

While Kent R. Randolph was running a multiyear scam in which he was accused of shipping Nike shoes to unlicensed dealers, federal prosecutors claim he underreported his income by $2.3 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darilynn Knauss said Randolph owes $195,000 plus penalties and interest for filing false returns from 2000 until 2003.

The 13-month sentence was below his federal guideline range of from 18 to 24 months. No fine was imposed.

In August, Randolph was indicted on charges of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and four counts of tax evasion. The other counts were dropped as part of his plea agreement. Specifically, he pleaded guilty to underreporting on his 2002 tax return.

Randolph was a former sales representative with the shoe company in the 1990s when he began his scheme.

His job with Nike was to place orders for shoe retailers in Bloomington, Canton and other areas that were authorized to sell Nike products. The company would then ship the shoes to those locations and bill them for the shoes sent.

From 1999 until 2004, his indictment states, Randolph worked with retailers and would order shoes from Nike, then send them to other wholesale distributors. The retailers would either get a "cut" from the wholesaler or from Randolph for their participation and to cover costs.

Journal Star, Peoria