MARION COUNTY — A flu outbreak and quarantine at Big Muddy Correctional Center has delayed sentencing Wednesday for a 48-year-old Centralia man who pleaded guilty last year to the severe beating over the summer of a 15-year-old boy on a Centralia street.
Christopher James pleaded guilty in November to one of two Class 3 felony charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm in exchange for the second charge being dismissed.
The charge is punishable by probation or between 3 and 10 years in prison. He is already serving a 3-year sentence on a Clinton County conviction for felony domestic battery.
James had earlier been identified as the step-father of three of four juveniles who have also pleaded guilty in connection with the case.
Prosecutors presented evidence in the case that James had initially intervened in the beating that took place after the victim was chased and knocked off his bike near Lincoln and Haussler Streets but that he also beat the 15-year-old boy with the bike and stomped the boy as he was lying in the street.
Police testimony confirmed the victim of the beating was an alleged member of the Rude Boys gang and that police believe he was likely responsible for shots that had been fired into a home where James lived at the time with the three step-sons charged in the case.
Authorities say the victim suffered a level two permanent brain injury and is unable to speak or have any memory of the incident, something that was confirmed by medical staff.
Wednesday’s sentencing hearing has been rescheduled for April 8 in the Marion County Courthouse.