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Home invasion and involuntary manslaughter charges in La Salle death investigation

Posted by wlpo on February 15, 2015

A weak heart could be saving a La Salle man from murder charges.

21-year-old Darnell Williams is charged with involuntary manslaughter and home invasion. He’s accused of breaking down the door of his mother’s home on Seventh Street in La Salle Saturday morning that she shared with her husband, 47-year-old Mark Jonas. La Salle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne says Williams was there to get his mom to sign over a car title.

What happened instead was a scuffle between Williams and Jonas in which Williams allegedly hit Jonas with a plastic shovel, gas can and a rock. Jonas was found unresponsive by police outside the home and was rushed to Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru where he died. Williams allegedly put up a fight with officers before getting arrested at the scene.

An autopsy was done Sunday and Dr. Scott Denton says Jonas died of a heart attack. He says the scuffle caused stress leading to the heart attack. Jonas had several prior heart attacks and had a short time to live even before the fight according to Denton.

The home invasion charge is a Class X felony carrying up to 30 years and is not eligible for probation. Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 2 felony which could mean up to 14 years in prison. A Class 2 charge is eligible for probation.

Towne doesn’t believe Williams knew Jonas had heart problems. Another reason for Towne not seeking murder charges is Williams has no prior criminal record.

Williams is being held at the La Salle County Jail on a million dollars bond. He’s due in court with a public defender Thursday morning.

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