OQUAWKA, Ill. — Three people charged with first-degree murder in the killing of an 87-year-old rural Carman, Illinois, man will remain in custody following hearings Wednesday in Henderson County Circuit Court.
Donnie Blakley, 41, and Angel Logsdon, 39, both of Oquawka, and Amy Hoffman, 38, of Gladstone, Illinois, are each charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 6 killing of Rex Mynatt, 87.
Authorities said Mynatt's body was found by a daughter two days later inside his residence at 1001 Township Road 1150 North, about nine miles east of Burlington. She went to check on her father after he failed to attend church that morning.
In an indictment unsealed Monday in Henderson County Circuit Court, Blakley is accused of shooting Mynatt in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle.
All three people appeared individually with their attorneys before Circuit Court Judge Raymond Cavanaugh Wednesday morning. The hearing was the first time the defendants appeared in court with their attorneys.
During the hearing, Cavanaugh set deadlines to file pretrial motions and other issues pertaining to the case. He gave the prosecutor and defense attorneys deadlines for each side to file any pretrial motions they deem appropriate.
Hoffman was ordered to next appear in court at 9 a.m. Dec. 13; Blakley's next hearing is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 20; and Logsdon is set to appear at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 27. All three will be formally arraigned on the murder charges at that time.
Throughout the brief hearings, all three remained silent. However, as Blakley was being led from the courtroom by court security, he turned to two elderly women sitting in the front row and said: "I love you."
A motive for the murder, the first in Henderson County in 17 years, has not been revealed by Henderson County State's Attorney Colby Hathaway.
On Monday, Cavanaugh appointed Sherry Lawson-Weaver to represent Blakley; Bill Rasmussen to represent Logsdon; and Blaise Rogers to defend Hoffman.
If the cases go to trial, it is not known if the trio will be tried separately or at the same time before the same jury.
Investigators and prosecutors have declined to release specific details about Mynatt's killing. The affidavit outlining evidence in the case remains sealed.
In the indictment, handed up by a secret state grand jury last Friday in Henderson County Circuit Court, Blakely is accused of firing the .22 caliber rifle that killed Mynatt. The women are charged with assisting Blakley in the killing of Mynatt. The indictment did not say if the women were with Blakely at Mynatt’s residence when the killing occurred. However, they have been charged with first-degree murder for their involvement in the killing.
All three are facing five counts of first-degree murder under under several different legal theories.
At the time of Mynatt's murder, Blakley was free on a $10,000 bond in connection with a major drug bust earlier this year in southeastern Illinois. In that case, Blakley is charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Investigators said they do not believe the drug bust earlier this year and Mynatt's murder are connected.
Mynatt, who lived alone, was found dead by his daughter about 12:20 p.m. Oct. 8. She went to check on him after he missed church earlier that morning. Police believe he was killed “on or about Oct. 6,” but his body was not discovered until two days later.
If convicted of the murder charges, Blakley faces 25-years-to-life in prison. The women face 20 to 60 years in prison if convicted.
Blakley and Logsdon are being held in the Mercer County Jail. Hoffman and Schramm are being held in the Henderson County Jail.