After more than two years of continuous pre-trial hearings, the courtroom saga of former Rend Lake College President Mark Kern was brought to an end last month, with Kern agreeing in Franklin County Court to a plea bargain in which felony gun charges against him were dismissed.
The 69-year-old Kern pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting a peace officer, for which he was sentenced to serve two days in jail with credit for two days served, 24-months conditional discharge and ordered to pay $2,883.75 in fines, none of which is listed as restitution to the woman at whom he fired his gun.
Felony charges of aggravated assault and aggravated discharge of a firearm, along with a misdemeanor charge of battery were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
According to court records, in April 2010, Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call from process server Hollie Thomas, saying she identified herself and told Kern she was there to serve his wife a federal subpoena, but that he nudged her with a shotgun and then shot at her vehicle as she fled from the property. Thomas was employed at the time of the incident by a private investigations firm in Centralia.
When deputies arrived at the home, Kern met them at the door carrying a handgun, say the deputies reports, which added that Kern ignored their requests to put down the weapon until his wife was able to get the gun from him and place it on the floor.
When questioned by deputies, Kern’s wife, Pat, reportedly told them Thomas did not identify herself as a process server and was banging on windows and doors of the home. She claimed her husband fired a shot into the air as a warning to the woman.
The case was most recently continued in October 2012, when the defense asked for more time as additional disclosure had developed with a defense witness.
Kern worked at the college for 39 years and was named president in 1991. He retired in 2008.