The Terre Haute City Council and Mayor Duke Bennett came to an agreement after some last-minute number- crunching during a special meeting held last night at City Hall.
In fact, the mayor's proposed 2017 budget was unanimously approved by the council, including President Todd Nation, Vice President Karrum Nasser and members George Azar, Amy Auler, Martha Crossen, Curtis DeBaun, Earl Elliott , Neil Garrison and Don Morris.
Nation, Crossen, Elliott and Nasser had met the previous day to discuss concerns about the budget. Bennett then indictated several recent changes were made before the vote.
He opened discussion at the meeting by reviewing a few of the budget items with the council. City Controller Leslie Ellis was also present.
"We've gone back and looked at some things," Bennett said, explaining further reductions had been made in various department budgets.
The meeting started off with a little opposition noted, but after an hour of give and take, there were some smiles, as they were able to reach the compromise. Garrison even joked about possibly being friends again now that budget talks have wrapped up going into next year.
See details of the 2017 budget on the Gateway public website.
UPDATE-- See updated story on Don Featherstone, murdersuspect
Terre Haute Police Department Assistant Chief Shawn Keen, Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts held a press conference at the THPD this afternoon to explain the latest developments in the homicide investigation of a local radio personalty earlier in the week.
Keen informed reporters that Illinois police found Donald Featherstone, 47, of Terre Haute-- the most recently named suspect in the Matt Luecking homicide investigation-- inside the truck he drove for a living near Chicago, with both wrists slit just hours after he allegedly murdered his ex girlfriend's boyfriend early Monday morning. Shortly after he was admitted to a hospital for treatment of his self-inflicted injuries, a warrant for his arrest was issued. He was released the following day from the hospital and booked into the Kane County Adult Justice Center in St. Charles, Ill.
When officers located Featherstone, he stated "he had messed up his life and it cost someone their life," according to the probable cause affidavit.
Featherstone was booked in Tuesday just after 9 p.m. He remains in custody at that location with a $1 million bail, according to the detainee information listed on the jail website.
Yesterday, THPD investigators visited Featherstone at the jail.
"At this point in time, he has not voluntarily waived extradition.Whether or not that changes in the future, we'll have to see," Keen said.
It wasn't long after Terre Haute resident Luecking, 44, was killed in a cold-blood -- while he slept in his bedroom at an eastside apartment -- that the four suspects allegedly connected to the case, were rounded up by Terre Haute Police Department detectives and assisting agencies. The manner of Luecking's death was blunt force trauma to the head.
One thing led right to another in the tracking of the suspects in the initial 24 hours and finding a possible connection to the suspects and Luecking's girlfriend.
"This was not a random act," Keen said, explaining that Featherstone was a jilted ex boyfriend of the deceased victim's current girfriend.He added there was no prior relationship with other suspects in the case and the victim.
Featherstone allegedly manipulated the other suspects into the situation that fatal night, with the expectation of profit. Featherstone's hope was to rekindle an old flame whom reportedly had no clue she was being monitored and followed for a span of about one year. She reportedly was clueless that Luecking was in danger.
Modesitt praised the THPD for dedication to working the case. He noted that during homicide investigations, the agencies and officials basically put everything on hold to focus on the urgent situation at hand. Modesitt, Roberts and other prosecutor's office staff worked with THPD detectives around the clock . Keen said it's important to credit the assisting agencies in Vermillion and Parke Counties, Illinois law enforcement and the Clinton and Terre Haute Walmart loss prevention officers that assisted in the case.
Modesitt and Roberts say the case is ongoing and that it is possible a life sentence will be sought at this time. Right now the focus is on a several week legal process for extradition of Featherstone back to Vigo County.
The four suspects and charges:
See related story
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News Writer: Lucy Pery PHONE: 317-527-4141