HARRISBURG, Ill. -- Former Shawnee Correctional Center Warden William Barham was found guilty Tuesday of reckless homicide and aggravated drunken driving in an auto accident that killed a fellow prison employee.
First Circuit Judge Michael Henshaw called Barham's claim that he was neither drunk nor driving "preposterous." He said there was "clear and convincing evidence" that Barham was behind the wheel in the late-night crash last year that killed prison dietary manager Jerry Isom, 47.
The state car they were in went off a two-lane highway near the southern Illinois town of Simpson on Oct. 15, 2000, and hit a tree.
Barham, a 24-year Department of Corrections employee, could receive as many as 14 years in prison or be sentenced to probation, Johnson County assistant state's attorney Alan McIntyre said. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Barham's lawyer, Randy Patchett, said he plans to appeal.
Isom's widow, Lori Isom, said she was pleased with the verdict.
"Justice has been done," she told television station WSIL after the verdict was read.
Barham, 47, has been on unpaid administrative leave from his $72,000-a-year job since he was charged.