OTTAWA — Vernard King still has plenty of legal problems, but none in La Salle County, anymore.
Thursday,La Salle County prosecutors dismissed a felony intimidation charge against the 42-year-old Peoriaman accused of holding up Eureka Savings Bank inPeru. Prosecutors have reserved the right to re-file the charge if needed.
Thursday’s decision effectively leaves King’s fate in the hands of federal authorities in Chicago, where he faces up to 20 years of convicted of bank robbery — and maybe more if he’s charged later this month for a second holdup.
King, also listed as an Oglesby resident, was taken intoLa SalleCountycustody after he allegedly robbed Eureka Savings of nearly $1,400 on Aug. 21. He briefly eluded authorities after he fled his getaway car on foot, but he was located and arrested a day later in a La Salle basement.
Sources said King hatched the robbery to raise bail money for his wife, who was in fact bonded out of La Salle County Jail with “bait money” traced back to Eureka Savings.
Weeks ago, the U.S. Attorney’s Office inChicagoelected to prosecute King in their venue — bank robbery is both a federal and state crime — and prosecutors here agreed to turn him over to the feds.
But King still had the pending intimidation charge for allegedly threatening to file a sexual assault charge against a man from whom King wanted money.
Thursday, La Salle County prosecutors told Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia they’d drop that charge and forward the criminal information toChicago. If the feds convict King, they can cite the intimidation charge as an aggravating factor to seek more prison time.
King will not, in all likelihood, be back in La Salle County Circuit Court. Instead, he next appears Jan. 24 in Chicago, at which time the feds will announce whether he will be charged for a Peoria-area robbery.