CRIME

Dana Monson pleads guilty to criminal sexual assault

Staff reports

Dana Monson, 59, of Joy was in Mercer County Court on Tuesday, July 21, on a continued jury pretrial conference. Monson, who is in custody, was represented by attorney Aaron Dyer of Rock Island. In a negotiated plea, Monson pled guilty to count 1, criminal sexual assault-force, a Class 1 felony and the two remaining charges – unlawful restraint, a Class 4 felony and domestic battery bodily harm, a class A misdemeanor -- were dismissed.

The plea agreement also stipulates the defendant is to have no contact with the victim. In exchange for the guilty plea, the state agreed to not seek more than six years in the Department of Corrections.

Dyer told the court it would be arguing for another sentencing option – four years felony probation.

Judge James G. Conway said there was sufficient factual basis to support a finding of guilty, after advising Monson of his rights to a trial, which Monson waived.

If convicted in a trial, the defendant would have been eligible for from four to 15 years in the Department of Corrections, with two years supervised release (probation) after his time was served; or up to four years probation and up to a $25,000 fine.

Monson was arrested after a 911 call was made on Nov. 1, 2008, with the victim saying she had been physically and sexually abused for the past 24 hours. States Attorney Greg McHugh went into detail about what occurred and what the state would prove, if the case went to trial. Both Dana Monson had been drinking on that day.

Judge Conway told the defendant that the state is permitted to bring in other evidence during the sentencing. He ordered a pre-sentence investigation and report to be completed.

Defense attorney Dyer told the court he planned to ask the court to employ a mitigation expert for this case.

Judge Conway set Monday, Aug. 17 at 1:30 p.m. to hear that motion.

A sentencing date was also set for Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 1:30 p.m.