Home > News > Centralia Man Gets Maximum 15 Year Prison Term After Prosecutor Says He Derailed Murder Investigation

Centralia Man Gets Maximum 15 Year Prison Term After Prosecutor Says He Derailed Murder Investigation

November 11, 2016

A 26-year-old Centralia man has been sentenced to the maximum 15 year prison term possible for aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Judge Allen Lolie handed down the sentence to Charles Collins in Marion County Court Thursday afternoon after hearing two hours of testimony and argument largely dealing with how Collins’ actions have derailed a murder investigation. The murder involved his friend Dustin Rhynes of Irvington who was shot and killed in Centralia 10 days before Collins admitted shooting Fernando Calcutt in the arm from a passing car in the 300 block of Linden Street.

Assistant State’s Attorney Melissa Doran says Collins wanted to settle the initial shooting himself and believed Calcutt was the getaway driver for the men who shot both himself and Rhynes on August 24th, 2015 in the Maulding Drive area.

Doran presented testimony from several Centralia and State Police investigators that showed how Collins had refused to initially provide vital information, later gave police the name of a suspect who he no longer believed was responsible, and then changed his story multiple times, including suspect names and how many people were involved. Collins seemed to change his story again when being questioned by Doran after taking the witness stand at the sentencing hearing.

Doran argued Collins, as the only eye witness, has muddied the murder investigation from the start and sent police heading in different directions. Doran also called Collins an ‘obstructionist from the beginning’ by refusing to give police Rhynes name as his friend who was shot and still missing. The prosecutor said that robbed police of information that could have led to Rhynes being found much quicker through being able to ping his phone or help from Rhynes’ family.

Illinois State Police Special Investigator Jeff Klein testified Collins had agreed to wear a wire for police to try and get information from a person he had named as a suspect. Later they learned at the same time Collins had told the suspect ahead of time he no longer thought he was involved and not to answer the phone when he called.

Doran says while Collins wants to use the murder investigation as an excuse for his actions in shooting at Calcutt in a neighborhood with multiple children, he in reality is the biggest hurdle to keep an arrest from happening.

Doran also noted information in Collins presentence investigation that indicated he felt the police owed him an apology for the way he was treated. She also cited Collins leaving the state after the shooting and multiple prior felonies as other aggravating factors. Doran closed her argument by saying this kind of behavior cannot be condoned and asked for the maximum 15 year sentence.

Public Defender Craig Griffin said Collins admitted he screwed up and did have a past record that would make probation inappropriate. He asked for a five year sentence.

In a statement of allocution, Collins said he did not want to shoot or kill anyone when he fired at Calcutt and admitted it wasn’t the right decision to shoot him.

Judge Lolie noted with 278 days already served and day for day good time, Collins was actually looking at still having to serve 81 months in prison on the 15 year prison sentence.

After the hearing, Doran and State’s Attorney Matt Wilzbach says the investigation into who shot and killed Rhynes was continuing, but it was very difficult without a credible eye witness. Rhynes body was not located until the morning after the shooting when it was found lying in an alley off Haussler Street near Jackson in Centralia.

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