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Tate Pleads Not Guilty

40-year-old Ray E. Tate, Jr., appeared in Wayne County Circuit Court for arraignment yesterday afternoon. He faces 38 counts in connection to the death of Wayne County Deputy Sean Riley in December: 36 counts of first-degree murder, one count of aggravated vehicular hijacking, and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. Tate pleaded not guilty to all counts, and a pre-trial conference in the case was set for March 15th at 2 p.m. at the Wayne County Courthouse.

The courthouse had a heavy security presence, with law enforcement from Wayne County, Jefferson County, and Illinois State Police. Judge Kimbara Harrell presided over the court, State’s Attorney Kevin Kakac and Assistant Attorney General Michael Falagario constituted the prosecution, and Public Defender Heidi Hoffee represented Tate. AAG Falagario gave a brief rundown of the definitions and enhancements for the charges, as well as their potential sentences if Tate is found guilty, and, because of the nature of the offense against a peace officer, Tate could face life in prison if convicted. Judge Harrell read the first 19 murder counts in their entirety before Tate waived the reading of the remaining counts and pleaded not guilty to all. The State accepted the not guilty plea, but it asked for a delay in disseminating discovery to the defense- in part because of the amount of material and in part to allow redaction of certain information. Hoffee waived the setting of a jury trial before proposing the conference in March. Tate is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on five million dollars bond.

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