Thursday, April 13, 2017 - Updated: 12:48 PMPress Release
Within the past weeks two individuals have pleaded guilty to charges in Massac Circuit Court — Monty W. Englehart on March 28 and Allan R. Stephens on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday morning, Stephens, 61, of Metropolis, pleaded guilty during a pre-trial hearing to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the shooting death of his wife, Deborah Stephens, on Dec. 18, 2016, in Massac County.
According to Massac County State’s Attorney Patrick Windhorst, the investigation revealed Stephens shot his wife at their residence in rural Massac County. After the shooting, Stephens called the Massac County Sheriff’s Department and told the dispatcher he had just shot and killed his wife.
An audio recording of the incident was captured on an electronic device of Deborah Stephens. An autopsy revealed she died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head.
Stephens was also arrested on Dec. 18. According to the state’s evidence, presented by Windhorst, when Massac County Sheriff’s Deputy Clayton Penrod arrived on the scene Debrorah Stephens was found slumped over to the left of the front door with visible injuries to her head with a deadly weapon. An autopsy revealed the weapon had caused her death.
“Actions have consequences and you have to live with those,” said presiding Judge Joe Leberman to Stephens.
After entering into the guilty plea, Deborah’s family was given time to make a statement. Her sister, Jeannie Lee, spoke on behalf of the family. “Losing Deborah is like losing a heart, some of our childhood and our own identity. Our big sister was everything. Our opportunities to say I love you are forever gone and our family is forever broken,” said Lee.
Judge Joe Leberman accepted Stephens’s plea of guilty and pronounced the sentence. Stephens was represented by attorneys Jeff Alford and Abigail Barnes of the Alford Law Office in Paducah.
Under Illinois’ Truth-In-Sentencing statute, Stephens will be required to serve 100% of the sentence.
The Massac County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case with the assistance of the Illinois State Police.
First Degree Murder is a separate class felony and carries a possible punishment of 20 to 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Stephens’ trial had been scheduled to begin on April 25.
Stephens has a 30-day window to file a written motion to repeal his guilty plea.
On March 28, Monty W. Englehart, 43, of Metropolis, pleaded guilty to unlawful failure of a sex offender to notify, a class three felony, and was sentenced to eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).
Englehart, a sex offender required to register by law, was accused of failing to notify the Metropolis Police Department of an address change in 2008. At the time the case was filed, Englehart had fled Massac County and his whereabouts were unknown. Englehart was arrested in January 2011 in the state of Wyoming on charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and possession of child pornography including the failure of a sex offender to notify charge.
Englehart’s eight-year sentence will be served in addition to the seven-year sentence he is currently serving for an escape that occurred in Massac County in 2012.
As a result of the plea to unlawful failure of a sex offender to notify, Englehart will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse was tried in July 2016, and that trial resulted in a hung jury.
After his arrest, Englehart was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of failure to register as a sex offender and possession of child pornography that arose in the state of Wyoming. Englehart will now face trial on those charges in federal court.
The offense of unlawful failure of a sex offender to notify is a class three felony and carries a sentence of two to five years in the IDOC. When certain aggravating factors exist, the sentencing range is enhanced to five to 10 years. The offense was also eligible for probation.
The Metropolis Police Department and the Illinois State Police investigated the case.