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Attacker sent to prison after brutal assault on Decatur man

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DECATUR — Daniel R. Blazich is now serving two years in prison for his involvement in the brutal attack of a Decatur man who was shot and wounded and also claimed he had been hit in the head with a hammer.

The accused shooter, Kevin C. Jophlin, 31, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery involving the discharge of a firearm and was sentenced to 10 years in prison April 27. An attempted murder charge against him was dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Blazich, the alleged wielder of the hammer, was scheduled to face trial July 12 on an attempted murder charge but that was dismissed in another plea deal. A further charge of aggravated battery was also dismissed when Blazich, 53, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court July 1 and pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated assault. 

Starting Friday and extending into early next week, ambient temperatures across Coles, Macon and McLean counties could touch the low to mid-90's and dew points could measure into the low to mid-70's.

The case dates back to June 14, 2020, when the male victim had gone for a ride with Jophlin, who was driving, and with Blazich in the front passenger seat. The victim thought he was on his way to buy methamphetamine when the other men attacked him. He had managed to escape by climbing out a window onto the roof of the moving car and ended up being thrown into the street when Jophlin slammed on the brakes.

Commenting on the case, Macon County State’s Attorney Scott Rueter said he cut plea deals because the cases, while triable, had lingering problems with the evidence: “The problem was that our primary evidence came from what the driver (Jophlin) said happened; the victim wasn’t so cooperative.”

The attempted murder charge and other original charges had even been dropped against Blazich at a hearing in December 2020, after prosecutors cited "evidentiary issues." The charges had then been refiled at a preliminary hearing in April.

Rueter said with Jophlin already sentenced, it had made sense to accept the plea deal with Blazich and secure a conviction with prison time.

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


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