Murder charges waived after Illinois man accepts plea deal

PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man charged with murder in the 2010 death of a 15-year-old has accepted a plea deal, waiving multiple homicide charges.

Under the plea bargain, Chad Bennett II, 27, pleaded guilty to home invasion on accountability, The Southern Illinoisanreported.

Bennett was initially charged in 2016 with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of concealment of homicidal death in the death of Sidnee Stephens.

Stephens was reported missing on July 19, 2010. Her remains were discovered six days later in Beucoup Creek.

Stephen’s half-sister, Dakota Wall, was also charged in the teen’s death. Wall was accused of leaving the door of the home she shared with Stephens open so others could come in and scare her. Wall was sentenced in 2014 to 26 years in prison.

Robbie Mueller, James Glazier and Carl Dane were also accused in the case.

Dane died by suicide in his jail cell before being transported to prison after being sentenced to 60 years for murder. Glazier is currently serving 60 years for a murder charge related to Stephens’ death, and Mueller is serving 37 years.

Perry County State’s Attorney David Stanton dropped the original murder charge against Bennett in 2013, reserving the right to refile charges later, because there was a lack of evidence, according to previous reports by the newspaper.

Bennett’s attorney, Bryan Drew, said a sentencing hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled, adding that the crime could be punished by between six and 30 years in prison with credit for time served. He said Bennett has been incarcerated for two years.