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Dakota Wall transported to Lincoln women's prison

 
John H. Croessman
Posted on 5/30/2014, 9:00 AM

Sidnee Stephens would have celebrated her 19th birthday two weeks ago yesterday.

At the time of her murder nearly four years ago in July 2010 she was a sophomore at Pinckneyville Community High School. She enjoyed making candy bracelets, music and concerts, playing pool, riding four-wheelers, fishing , swimming and camping.

She was actually born in Murphysboro to Tracy Stephens of Pinckneyville and Jason Tritscher of Du Quoin.

Events since her murder have changed lives forever, including Dakota Wall, one of the defendants in her murder, who was sentenced Wednesday to 26 years in prison for her role in the death of her half sister.

Wall pleaded guilty to the home invasion charge so the murder, kidnapping and burglary charges were dropped.

Wall went before the Honorable James Campanella in Perry County Circuit Court, the last of four murder defendants in the case.

Wall was credited with 884 days for time served, pleaded guilty April 8 to a Class X felony charge of home invasion. The charge carried a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

Her defense attorney was James Sterns.

Wall was transported at 7 a.m. Thursday by two Perry County deputies to the Lincoln Correctional Center, a women"s prison, in Lincoln, Illinois.

She could be eligible for parole in 10 years.

Persons close to the case say the prosecution of a fifth suspect, Chad Bennett, was dropped largely because any substantive testimony died with one of the original suspects, Carl Dane, who was found hanged in his cell just before starting his prison sentence with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

State"s Attorney David Stanton reserves the right to bring charges against Bennett in the future.

Convicted murderer James E. Glazier is now Illinois Department of Corrections inmate B88558 and is serving a 60-year sentence in Stateville Correctional Center. He has a release date of July 29, 2073 with possible parole on July 29, 2070.

Convicted murderer Robbie Mueller is now Illinois Department of Corrections inmate B88610 and is serving a 37-year sentence in the Menard Correctional Center. His projected release date is July 29, 2050 with possible parole on July 29, 2047.

Stephens was reported missing July 19, 2010, and her body was found six days later in Beaucoup Creek southeast of Pinckneyville

Testimony indicates that Wall intentionally left the door to her home open July 19 so friends could scare Stephens while she slept, defense attorney James Stern said.

Robbie Mueller, James Glazier and Carl Dane entered the house, choked Stephens until she lost consciousness, put her in the trunk of a car, and took her to Beaucoup Creek where Dane said he shot her at least twice with a handgun.

Mueller said he and Glazier pushed Stephens' body into the creek.

State"s Attorney Stanton was seeking the maximum sentence of 30 years after she kept quiet about her role for 27 months. Stanton argued Wall should have protected her younger sister instead of working as a co-conspirator.

"There's a community that wants to know what happens to you when you engage in this kind of activity," Stanton said.

Sterns said Wall was too intimidated by the three men to come forward. He argues her only crime was leaving the door open.

Judge Campanella said he was disturbed by Wall"s lack of emotion. The judge said Wednesday"s sentencing was the first sign of emotion from Wall.

Wall was released from jail midway through her local incarceration to give birth to a child. Judge Campanella spoke of the tragedy of someone else having to raise her child, but said Wall"s role in her step-sister"s death trumped all other considerations.

 
 
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