EDGEWOOD, IL — Two men have been formally charged in Clay County Court in connection with the death last month of an 80-year-old rural Clay County man in his home. 27-year-old Christopher Gallatin, of Centralia, and 30-year-old Walter West, of Edgewood, are accused of entering the Roger Courson’s Edgewood home, causing his death then taking a safe, several guns, and a TV.
A family member found Courson’s body September 26th and notified law enforcement. Illinois State Police report that an Effingham City Police Department Crimestoppers’ tip from the public led to the development of suspects in the case. Based on information gathered during the investigation, West and Gallatin were taken into custody on Thursday. A Clay County judge found probable cause on Friday night to detain West and Gallatin. Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 8 was assisted in what they are terming an “open and ongoing investigation” by the Clay County and Marion County Sheriff’s Departments and Centralia Police Department. On Monday, both men were charged with two counts each first-degree murder and one count each Class 1 residential burglary.
They both remain in the Clay County Jail awaiting the setting of bond and advisement of the charges against them.