Judge Demands Damage Payments In Looter Cases | WGLT

Judge Demands Damage Payments In Looter Cases

Dec 1, 2020

A McLean County judge delayed sentencing hearings Tuesday for two men charged in connection with last summer's looting after prosecutors could not provide figures for the restitution the judge insisted the defendants pay to the Normal Police Department and two businesses.

Judge William Yoder halted a sentencing hearing for Anthony Crose on charges of mob action related to looting at Target in Normal. Crose is one of more than 40 people charged with theft, mob action and looting that broke out in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minnesota police.

Yoder rejected a plea agreement Sept. 1 for Crose, a deal that also would have resolved an aggravated DUI case against him. The judge said at the time that he would not accept plea agreements in the looting cases if they included a specific sentence. Partially negotiated pleas with all sentencing options, from probation to prison, will be acceptable for consideration.

Prosecutor David Fitt said Tuesday that Target and the Town of Normal have not requested restitution for damages to the store and police vehicles. Damages were covered by insurance, said Fitt.

Target and Kohl’s reported heavy damage after crowds stormed their businesses and walked away with merchandise. Normal Police vehicles were damaged by rioters who smashed windshields and assaulted officers during the melee.

According to Yoder, restitution is mandatory under state law for those convicted of property damage.

“I am going to want a definitive answer not as to whether restitution is being sought, but what the restitution figure is, for each of these agencies,” said Yoder.

Defense lawyer Matthew Koetters asked that Crose be released on a no-cash bond until a Dec. 9 sentencing hearing.

Crose has been in jail 150 days “due to the fact he’s been waiting for this sentencing to happen,” said Koetters.

Fitt objected to the release, saying the defense had not met its filing obligation for the motion. Yoder acknowledged that Crose has been in jail “a substantial amount of time,” but denied the motion.

The sentencing hearing for Deangelo Glass of Bloomington also was postponed until next week to allow the state to gather damage numbers from Kohl’s.

A “ballpark estimate” of the damage to the store’s door fell short of what was needed to set restitution, said Yoder.

In cases where more than one person is culpable for damages, defendants are liable for the entire amount of the loss. With more than 15 pending cases involving Target and similar numbers related to Kohl’s and other victims, collection and distribution of restitution could be a lengthy process.

On Friday, two hearings are scheduled for defendants who are asking that Yoder be removed as the judge in their looting cases. Judge Paul Lawrence will decide if a new judge will handle the cases. The defendants cited Yoder’s position on pleas as the reason for the motion.