Rauner reduces sentence in 1995 Logan County double murder

Jon Morgan was 14 when he killed his grandparents in Lincoln in April 1995. (Illinois Department of Corrections photo)

 

By Howard Packowitz

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner, during his final days in office, shortened the prison sentence in the case of a man who murdered his grandparents in Lincoln almost a quarter-century ago.

Rauner reduced Jon Morgan’s sentence from 75 years to 58 years for the shooting deaths of his grandparents, Keith and Lila Cearlock, in April 1995.

Morgan was 14 at the time of the killings, but tried as an adult.

The governor decided the two sentences for first- and second-degree murder should run at the same time instead of one after the other.

A jury found Morgan guilty of first degree murder for his grandmother’s death, but convicted him on the lesser charge for killing Keith Cearlock after the teenager claimed physical and emotional abuse during the time he lived with his grandparents.

Morgan is now 38. The Illinois Department of Corrections website indicated Morgan was eligible to be released on parole in September 2032. After the governor’s commutation, it’s not clear when Morgan might be eligible for parole.

The Department of Corrections said Morgan is being held in the Shawnee Correctional Center, a medium security prison in southern Illinois.

Rauner granted four commutations and 30 clemency requests as he prepared to leave office, but denied requests in 268 other cases, according to a news release issued late Friday.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

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