Court Updates from 12/5/2022 Preliminary Hearings

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Nicholas Smith:  Nicholas Smith, 22, of Kewanee is in custody of the Henry County Jail on a $25,000 (10%) bond.  Nicholas Smith was arrested on November 22, 2022, after he stabbed his uncle during an altercation in the 100 block of N. Jackson Street.  Richard Trimmer, who was arrested and charged with Domestic Battery, confronted his sister in a bedroom in the residence over her dog defecating on a garden hose.  Nicholas Smith grabbed what he thought was a knife and stabbed his Uncle, Richard Trimmer, during the confrontation.  The weapon was actually scissors and Trimmer refused treatment on scene.  Smith fled on foot from the scene and was quickly located and arrested in a wooded area close to the residence.  A Jury Pre-Trial is scheduled for December 22, 2022, at 11 AM.  Smith is charged with Aggravated Battery (Class 3 Felony), Battery (Class A Misdemeanor) and Violation of Order of Protection (Class A Misdemeanor).

Tyler Westefer:  Tyler Westefer, 20, of Kewanee is in custody of the Henry County Jail on $75, 000 (10%), $250,000 (10%) and $1,000,000 (10%) bonds for cases 22CF238, 22CF315 and 22CF337.  Westefer had Preliminary Hearings for all three cases on Monday.  Judge Terry Patton found probable cause on all three cases and scheduled a Jury Pre-Trial for each case on December 22, 2022, at 2 PM.

Case 2022CF238 – Tyler Westefer is charged with Criminal Trespass to Residence/Person Present (Class 4 Felony) and Mob Action (Class 4 Felony) for an incident on July 29, 2022, where Westefer is alleged to have entered an apartment in Fairview without permission and assault a juvenile.  Officer Eric Hamilton, of the Kewanee Police Department, provided a factual basis for the charges.  Tyler Westefer and three juveniles chased AB, a juvenile, into an apartment in Fairview.  AB locked himself in a room in the apartment.  Westefer and the three juveniles entered the apartment without permission and began beating up juvenile AB.  Witness statements and surveillance footage were collected as evidence.  The three juveniles with Westefer were charged in juvenile court on charges relating to the battery.

Case 2022CF315 – Tyler Westefer is charged with Manufacture/Deliver 30-500 grams of Cannabis (Class 3 Felony), Possession of Cannabis 100-500 grams (Class 4 Felony), Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon (Class 4 Felony) and Obstruct Justice/Leave State (Class 4 Felony) relating to the police pursuit on November 9, 2022.  Deputy Chief Kijanowski attempted a traffic stop after he witnessed Tyler Westefer as a passenger in a vehicle but the vehicle fled from police at a high rate of speed.  Tyler Westefer was wanted on a $75,000 warrant for failure to appear at a Preliminary Hearing for the trespass and mob action case.  Tyler’s girlfriend, Samantha Engholm, was the driver of the vehicle.  The vehicle eventually stopped close to Black Hawk East College.  Tyler Wesefer fled from the vehicle and entered a grass field.  Officers eventually found Westefer in the field and took him into custody.  Engholm was charged with Fleeing and Eluding (Class 4 Felony), Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding (Class 3 Felony), Reckless Driving (Class A Misdemeanor) and numerous traffic offenses.  She posted bond and was released on November 28th.  As Engholm was passing a vehicle during the pursuit, the driver of the vehicle observed the passenger of the vehicle throwing objects out the vehicle window.  The witness flagged down Henry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy, Deputy Winter, and Deputy Winter recovered a 9mm ghost gun, a loaded 50 round magazine, a 30 round magazine and loose 9mm ammunition where the witness observed the objects being thrown from the fleeing car.  Officers recovered a backpack in the vehicle containing 365.7 grams of cannabis intended to be delivered at a different time according to testimony by Detective Sergeant Michael Minx.  A bullet proof vest was recovered from the vehicle as well.  The registered owner of the vehicle is the mother of Samantha Engholm.  Samantha Engholm told officers during her interview that Westefer keeps her out of his illegal activity because she doesn’t want to know anything about it.  Ms. Engholm told police that Tyler Westefer has made statements of harming himself and law enforcement, which is why she fled.

2022CF337 – On November 5, 2022, Kewanee Police Officer, Officer Alex Paulson, was dispatched to the 300 block of Grove Street for a shots fired call.  Officers didn’t find any evidence of a shooting on Grove Street.  Police were familiar with a house in the 500 block of Park Avenue that could possibly be related to the shots fired call, so they searched the area for any indication of a shooting.  Officers located multiple holes in a house in the 500 block of Park Avenue and one hole in a house on South Park Street.  No persons were injured in the drive-by shooting.  Westefer was the driver of the vehicle and there were three juveniles in the vehicle during the shooting.  The vehicle belongs to an acquaintance of Westefer.  Officers searched the area looking for witnesses and reviewed surveillance footage.  The suspect vehicle was identified from witness accounts and surveillance footage collected from the area.  The suspect vehicle was located at a residence Westefer was known to frequent.  Officers conducted a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle around 1:30 PM on November 5th on East Division Street.  Westefer was not in the suspect vehicle at the time of the traffic stop but the juveniles in the vehicle were interviewed.  The next day, one of the juveniles called the Police Department wanting to speak to police.  The juvenile said he was sleeping in the back seat of the suspect vehicle when woke up to a “Bang Bang”, then he felt the car hit bumps and then drive onto a flat surface.  Detective Minx testified that the suspect vehicle was seen hitting a large pothole in a alley from surveillance video.  A juvenile in the suspect vehicle heard another juvenile tell Tyler Westefer “That was stupid” and Westefer replied “I don’t care”.  A second juvenile in the suspect vehicle said Tyler Westefer called the next morning and apologized.  Two of the three juveniles in the suspect vehicle at the time of the shooting made statements to Police and none were known to have been given leniency for their statements.  The Illinois State Police Crime Lab matched ballistics on the bullets from the drive-by shooting to the 9mm handgun recovered from the pursuit.  Cellular phones were located and provided evidence of being located near the 500 block of Park Avenue during the time of the shooting.  SnapChat video from November 4th was recovered from Tyler Westefer’s phone that show him with the suspect ghost gun and magazines used in the Park Avenue Shooting.  According to witness statements, Tyler Westefer lived in the Park Avenue house at one time but moved following a falling out between Westefer and a resident of the house.  The Park Avenue residence was reported to have been “trashed” when Westefer moved out and property was missing.  Kewanee Police detectives used Google Maps to measure the distance between the house on Park Ave and Irving School.  They measured from the roof of the Park Avenue house to the middle of the Playground at Irving School, which measured far less than 1000 feet.

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