Rock Island man arrested in Mercer County child pornography case
A Rock Island man faces six charges, five of them Class-X felonies, in connection with an alleged March 2 child pornography incident. William M. Ashby also faces witness tampering charges for allegedly attempting to convince a woman not to testify against his co-defendant.
Ashby, 25, who was arrested earlier this week near Peoria by Illinois State Police, was brought back to Mercer County Wednesday, March 30, evening. He appeared in Mercer County Circuit Court on Thursday, March 31, before Judge Gregory Chickris.
In the child pornography case, Ashby is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, four counts of child pornography for alleged incidents with a person under 16 years of age. Those charges are all Class-X felonies. He is also charged with the Class-3 felony of bestiality for an alleged incident involving a dog.
Ashby is also charged with two Class-3 felony counts of unlawful communication with a witness. The prosecution alleges that on March 17, he attempted to get a witness to not testify against his co-defendant, Aaron J. Beauchamp, 37, Matherville.
Beauchamp faces five Class-X felony counts of child pornography in connection with the alleged March 2 incident. He is due in court Monday, April 4, for a preliminary hearing. Both men are being held on $200,000 bond in the child pornography case. Ashby's bond for the alleged witness tampering was set at $50,000.
Ashby's preliminary hearings in both cases were set for 11:40 a.m. on April 19.