Centralia Sentinel Stories: Court

Mt. Vernon man charged with murder

MT. VERNON — An 18-year-old Mt. Vernon man has been arrested and charged with murder after a fatal shooting that occurred in the 700 block of South 25th Street in Mt. Vernon over the weekend.

Roderick S. Oats Jr. was formally charged Monday afternoon with three counts of Class M felony murder charges. Bond for Oats was set at $3 million.

Oats was arrested at 11:39 p.m. Saturday by the Benton Police Department without incident. The arrest came a few hours after Carlos Johnson, 20, of Mt. Vernon was taken to SSM Health St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital.

Johnson later died as a result of a homicide, Jefferson County Coroner Roger Hayse said Monday.

The Mt. Vernon Police Department said Oats’ possible whereabouts in Benton were uncovered during the investigation. Police then notified and requested the Benton Police Department to locate and make the arrest.

A report of gunshots fired in the 700 block of South 25th Street came in at 4:35 p.m. Saturday. According to police, the caller indicated that she had heard a gunshot and found blood in her driveway. Another resident also told police that he had seen a suspect in a red shirt who was carrying a handgun.

A short time later, hospital emergency room staff alerted police to a gunshot wound victim who had arrived in a white Chevy Cavalier. Johnson died from the injuries at the hospital, police said.

Oates remained at Franklin County Jail over the weekend until he was transferred back to Jefferson County for his initial court appearance, according to a representative from the jail.

Additional patrol officers, MVPD detectives and a crime scene technician from the Illinois State Police were called in to assist with the navigation.

Mt. Vernon Police Chief Chris Deichman said the investigation is ongoing but no other suspects are being sought at this time.

“We are just tying up some loose ends as far as the prosecution goes,” Deichman said. “We had good cooperation with the community and were able to make a quick arrest.”

Additionally, the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office and Jefferson County State’s Attorney’s Office were notified and are assisting.

A court hearing for Oats in Jefferson County Court has yet to be scheduled.

Oats had also been charged in Marion County earlier this year after a January shooting incident where Jacob Joyner, 21, and Jacob Hayes, 20, were injured. Oats was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, a Class 2 felony, and possession of a firearm, a Class A misdemeanor.

According to Sentinel archives, Oats allegedly admitted to possessing a .38 Special pistol before authorities could search. He was reportedly an occupant in one of two vehicles that had been stopped in the Denny’s parking lot after leaving the party in Salem.

Oats is scheduled for a jury trial in Marion County to begin in September.