A 19-year-old woman was sentenced Monday to five years probation on a suspended execution for a single count of forgery. Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis handed down the sentence for Ashley N. Freeman, 19, of Jonesboro, Ill., who pleaded guilty to a single count of forgery. Freeman and three others were accused of purchasing $9,700 in merchandise with up to 65 stolen checks at retail businesses in Jackson and Cape Girardeau. In addition to probation, Freeman was ordered to pay $3,302 in restitution within the first 24 months of probation.
A former night manager at Fazoli's who assisted in the 2000 robbery of the restaurant was sentenced to probation Monday. Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis sentenced Matthew Killian, 25, of 2813 Whitener St., to five years probation and 30 days of shock incarceration. The judge also ordered Killian to pay restitution for $4,483.25 that was stolen in the robbery. Killian was charged last year with first-degree robbery for supplying the handgun a thief used in the Aug. 26, 2000 heist at Fazoli's, 5 N. Kingshighway. The gunman ordered Killian to open the safe and hand over the cash inside. Employees were then forced into the restaurant's cooler. "I made a big mistake," Killian said, calling the heist a "serious lack of judgment." In the aftermath of the robbery, Killian lost his job when the restaurant said he had violated company policies in handling the incident.
A man pleaded guilty Monday to breaking into a Cape Girardeau home and Jackson church and stealing more than $5,000 in goods. Christopher A. Messmer, of 2879 County Road 607 in Jackson, entered his guilty plea before Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis for one count of stealing and one count of burglary. Messmer admitted to breaking into a Cape Girardeau home on Dec. 16 and stealing electronics and guitars. Later that day, Messmer stole bankroll checks, a projector and banks notes from First General Baptist Church in Jackson. The stolen property was worth about $5,630. Sentencing was scheduled for March 27, and Messmer could face up to 14 years in prison on the charges. Also Monday, at the request of Messmer's lawyer, Lewis lowered the defendant's bond from $20,000 to $2,500.