Weapons, battery charges against Centralia man dropped

Prosecutors elected Thursday to not pursue charges against a 37-year-old Centralia man accused of shooting at a woman in March and then holding her captive at gunpoint, after the woman changed her story and denied the allegations.

Lamar Bennett was facing charges of Class 1 felony aggravated discharge of a firearm, Class 3 felony aggravated unlawful restraint by use of a deadly weapon, and misdemeanor domestic battery.

In March, prosecutors claimed Bennett fired a gun in the direction of the alleged female victim as she sat in a car on West Kell Street in Centralia, then later that same day wouldn’t allow the same woman to leave a residence by holding her at gunpoint and beating her.

According to police, Bennett terrorized the alleged victim and was arrested while on his way to SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital after sending a threatening text to her after she had been taken to the hospital for treatment.

On Thursday prosecutors filed a motion to “nolle prosse” the charges against Bennett, which leaves open the option to again pursue the charges at a later date.

Bennett is currently being held in the Illinois Department of Corrections on a drug-related conviction that was the result of a plea agreement in which a charge stemming from the 2017 armed robbery of FuelVend in Centralia was dismissed.