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Prisoner accused of threatening to blow up Decatur police stations pleads not guilty


DECATUR — A prisoner who vowed to learn how to make bombs and blow up police stations in Decatur pleaded not guilty in Macon County Circuit Court Wednesday to making a false terrorist threat.

Joseph L. Williams, 20, appeared for a preliminary hearing representing himself but, after being arraigned by Judge Phoebe Bowers, said he had changed his mind and wanted the court to appoint a public defender.

Bowers agreed to the request. Williams, who is being held in custody in the Macon County Jail, then asked about a motion he had filed requesting a bond reduction and was told he would have to take that up with Judge Jeffrey Geisler, who was assigned as the trial judge.

Earlier, giving evidence under questioning, Decatur Police Detective Trevor Stalets told State’s Attorney Jay Scott that Williams had made his terror threat in March while incarcerated at the Menard Correctional Center.

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Stalets said Williams had been interviewed by a Department of Corrections mental health case worker. The worker quoted him as having said: “When I get out in September of this year I am going to go around the Decatur area and blow up all of the police stations. I am going to look up how to make a bomb and I am going to kill them all. They are going to worship me and celebrate me ...”

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The threat was relayed to IDOC Deputy Commander Kevin Verble who in turn warned Decatur Police. Williams, who had been serving time for a conviction of armed robbery with a firearm committed in Macon County, returned to Decatur on parole Oct. 1. A sworn police affidavit said he was picked up for questioning by Decatur Police Oct. 3 and denied making threats, but he had no explanation for why the case worker would say that he did make them.

Bowers scheduled his case for a pretrial hearing Nov. 27; he remains held without bond in the Macon County Jail.

2018 mug shots from the Herald & Review

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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