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home : news : local   April 29, 2016

1/28/2013 11:59:00 PM
Man close to pleading in Eureka Savings robbery


Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter



A Peoria man soon might plead guilty to robbing Eureka Savings Bank in Peru last summer, federal authorities said late last week.
Vernard King, 42, also listed as a resident of Oglesby, appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, where prosecutors announced they are close to a plea agreement.
King faces up to 20 years in federal prison, plus a fine up to $250,000, if convicted of bank robbery for allegedly holding up Eureka Savings on Aug. 21. According to court records, King made off with nearly $1,400 after demanding money and indicating a weapon.
However, lawyers in the case advised Judge Edmond Chang on Thursday they are close to a deal, with only one issue (King’s release date from a sentence in California) still to be ironed out.
Chang ordered King to return for a hearing at 9 a.m. Feb. 25, at which time Chang could schedule a plea hearing or, if negotiations falter, a trial date.
King was apprehended Aug. 22, a day after the Peru holdup and after he narrowly eluded arrest in the getaway car. A daylong manhunt led police to a La Salle basement, where King was apprehended following a scuffle with the arresting officers.
King initially was charged in La Salle County, where authorities said he robbed the bank to raise bail money for his wife. He was later handed over to the feds when the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges carrying a lengthier prison term than he’d have faced in La Salle County.
(Prosecutors here also dropped an unrelated felony intimidation charge against King, who allegedly threatened to file a sexual assault charge against a man from whom King wanted money.)
The feds have not yet announced whether King would be charged in connection with a Peoria-area bank robbery in which King was openly named a suspect. An announcement was expected at the Jan. 24 hearing, but that apparently was preempted by plea negotiations.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.












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