Judge reduces bond for man charged with hate crimes
A Mt. Morris man accused of hate crimes and battery is out of jail after an Ogle County judge reduced his bond last week.
Matthew Steder, 22, posted bond and was released after Judge Robert Hanson reduced his bond from $250,000 to $25,000 at a hearing Dec. 6.
Steder is charged with three counts of hate crimes, Class 4 felonies, one count of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony, and three counts of battery in connection with an underage drinking party last August that resulted in the death of an Oregon teen.
He has been held in the Whiteside County Jail since he turned himself in to Ogle County Sheriff’s Police on Nov. 28.
The motion for a bond reduction was filed by Steder’s attorney David Tess, Rochelle.
Hanson said he agreed that the original bond was set too high, but voiced concerns over Steder’s criminal past.
“I’m concerned over his history at such a young age,” Hanson said. “I believe the bond at $250,000 is too high, but I believe it should be sufficiently high to ensure he will appear in court.”
Hanson reduced the bond and set several conditions Steder must adhere to, including no consumption of alcohol or any drugs other than prescribed by a doctor, no violations of the law, and he must continue to reside with his mother and step-father in Mt. Morris.
Tess said Steder has a good job that is being held for him. He said his client wants to return to work.
Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Versluys objected to the bond reduction.
He said Steder is accused of three crimes of violence against three different victims in the current case, and has a history of violent behavior and alcohol abuse.
Steder is one of two men charged with hate crimes stemming from a drinking party in Oregon on Aug. 10 where a fight broke out that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Jonathan Williams.
Justin Coltrain, 33, Mt. Morris, also appeared before Hanson on Dec. 6. He is charged with one count each of hate crime and battery.
Ogle County State’s Attorney Michael Rock said the two made the racial slurs against African Americans who were also at the party and struck them.
Hanson appointed Oregon attorney Dennis Riley, a public defender, to represent Coltrain in court.
Coltrain requested Riley because he is already representing him in another case.
Coltrain is currently being held in the Whiteside County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Coltrain and Steder, who are scheduled to appear again in court Dec. 18, are two of the seven adults charged Nov. 27 in connection with the party that took place Aug. 10 at the Heck residence at 804 Monroe St., Oregon.
Williams died Aug. 11 at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center, Rockford, after being injured in the fight which occurred in the wee hours of Aug. 10. Rock announced the following charges on Nov. 27:
• Brian Galor, 21, Rockford, delivery of alcohol to a minor;
• Maria Coleman, 19, Oregon, reckless conduct;
• Cody Munroe, 18, reckless conduct;
• Cameron Clark, 21, Rochelle, reckless conduct;
• Kylie Heck, 19, Oregon, reckless conduct.
Two juveniles were also charged.
Rock said the reckless conduct charges were filed because the individuals charged did not seek medical help for Williams for several hours.
A Winnebago County Grand Jury ruled Williams’ death a homicide last month. The cause of Williams’ death already had been ruled to be “blunt trauma of the head due to a fall as a result of a physical altercation.”
Rock said Nov. 27 that no one will be charged for Williams’ death.
He said the fight involved several party-goers and spilled out into the neighborhood.
“Witnesses indicate Mr. Williams chased another individual who struck Mr. Williams in self defense resulting in Mr. Williams striking his head. Mr. Williams was carried back into the residence where he remained for hours before receiving medical attention,” Rock said in a press release issued Nov. 27.
Coltrain and Steder were jailed in Whiteside County after Coltrain told corrections officers at the Ogle County Jail that he had been attacked by other inmates after his arrest.
Coltrain told a reporter from Sauk Valley Media that he was attacked Nov. 27 by African American inmates sharing his cell after they heard a TV news report that said he had been charged with a hate crime.
Rock said Tuesday that he is awaiting the reports from the sheriff’s department on the incident before determining if charges will be filed.
“Once the investigation is complete we’ll go from there,” he said.