• Courtney gets 25 years for burglary of former sheriff’s home

    by  • January 4, 2013 • News

    Judge Michael McHaney sentenced a 26-year-old Centralia man today to 25-years in the Illinois department of corrections.

    Jerry M. Courtney had been convicted of the September 2012 burglary to the home of former Marion County Sheriff Gerald Benjamin, at which time multiple firearms were stolen, including a service weapon registered to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.

    He received 25-years for aggravated possession with the intent to distribute 11-20 stolen firearms, 10-years for the residential burglary and another 10-years for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The three sentences are to be served concurrently.

    Courtney’s sentence comes just days after 23-year-old Nathaniel L. Benjamin, a co-defendant and the former sheriff’s grandson, was sentenced in Jefferson County to 7-years for related crimes.

    Nathaniel Benjamin was found guilty Wednesday of possessing a stolen firearm — for which he was sentenced to 7-years, and two counts possession of a controlled substance — for which he was sentenced to 4-years each. His sentences are also to be served concurrently.

    He is still facing charges in Marion County for residential burglary in connection with the break-in at his grandfather’s home, and two unrelated counts of unlawful possession of a stolen credit or debit card that reportedly belonged to another family member. A January 22 date has been set for a jury trial in both cases.