CHARLESTON -- A man who admitted that he shot a 14-year-old boy with a slingshot has apparently never explained why he did it, according to the case's prosecutor.

Forrest A. Sanders also admitted stealing tools from a relative, marking convictions in two cases the prosecutor said presented problems with evidence.

Sanders, 59, for whom court records list an address of 312 DeWitt Ave., Mattoon, pleaded guilty to a felony aggravated battery charge and a misdemeanor theft charge.

With the agreement reached, he was sentenced to two years of probation to cover both offenses.

The aggravated battery charge was in connection with the slingshot incident, during which Sanders was accused of shooting the boy, causing bruising, on Jan. 21.

The boy was in a yard near Sanders' residence when the incident occurred and it was apparently unprovoked, according to Coles County Assistant State's Attorney Tom Bucher, who prosecuted.

There was nothing in police reports about the incident indicating that Sanders ever offered an explanation or made any kind of statement about what led him to shoot the boy with the slingshot, Bucher said.

Bucher said there were difficulties with the case because the police officer who investigated is no longer living in the area.

Sanders was also accused of stealing tools from a building at a Mattoon residence on July 25. In that case, he was originally charged with a felony burglary offense alleging he entered the building with plans to steal.

A conviction for the burglary charge would have required a prison sentence with the possibility of up to 14 years, twice the normal maximum, both because of Sanders' earlier convictions.

In that case, Bucher said he took into account that the theft was of tools that belonged to a relative of Sanders'.

Public Defender Anthony Ortega, who represented Sanders, wasn't available for comment on the cases.

The terms of Sanders' probation sentence included evaluations for substance abuse treatment and other counseling and a requirement that he follow the evaluation's recommendations.

The sentence also included six months of jail time but it was stayed. That means Sanders won't have to serve it now but some or all of it could be ordered later if there are probation violations.

Also with the convictions, Sanders received a record of unsuccessfully completing the probation sentence he received in 2015 for a conviction for a fleeing police offense in connection with driving under the influence.

Records show that Sanders served prison sentences for earlier convictions for arson, possession of a stolen vehicle and methamphetamine and weapons offenses.

Circuit Judge Teresa Righter sentenced Sanders, accepting the plea agreement terms Bucher and Ortega recommended.


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