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This sickens me to the core.


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  • This sickens me to the core.

    Man arrested on five counts of murder in connection with house fire that killed five children
    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    By Rodney Hart

    Herald-Whig Staff Writer

    A Quincy,Il man was arrested Sunday for five counts of first-degree murder in connection with a fire that claimed the lives of five young children early Sunday morning.

    Zachary Meeks, 27, of 613 Eighth was lodged in the Adams County Jail Sunday afternoon. He is also arrested on charges of with aggravated arson and arson, said Lt. Jason Simmons of the Quincy,Il Police Department.

    Five young children who lived at 428 N. Seventh were found dead in the home after a fire swept through the two-story brick structure at about 3 a.m., authorities said.

    Adams County Coroner Gary Hamilton said the five victims are:

    Kendall Edwards, 10;

    Althea Clark, 9;

    Camron Clark, 5;

    Khalil Clark, 3;

    Kejuan Clark, 5 months.

    Zachary Meeks

    Autopsies will be done in Springfield Monday. Neighbors and family members said the victims were the children of Keith and Jeanette Mitchell.

    Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard said he anticipates filing the five first-degree murder charges and arson charges against Meeks Monday.

    An aunt who lives across the street said the four boys and one girl are brothers and sisters. Hamilton said the children's bodies were found on the house's second story.

    Fire investigators were seen removing a plastic jug from in front of the residence late this morning, though authorities did not release the official cause of the fire.

    Quincy Fire Chief Scott Walker said two adults were burned when trying to rescue the children shortly after the fire started. Neighbors said the two adults who lived in the house, Jeanette and Keith Clark, apparently were not home when the fire started.

    Jeanette Clark was treated at Blessing Hospital Sunday for undisclosed injuries, while Keith Clark was airlifted to a Springfield hospital. Authorities did not release Jeanette Clark's name, but Walker said a civilian was hurt when she tried to push past firefighters at the house and enter the house through a window.

    State and local fire investigators examine the scene of a fatal house fire early Sunday morning at 428 N. Seventh, about two blocks north of Broadway. H-W Photo/Michael Kipley

    Jeanette Clark's sister, Michelle Gavin, said Clark, the children's mother, and Meeks had an altercation at the Starlight Casino about an hour before the fire was started.

    Gavin said she saw her sister slap Meeks in the face over an argument in the Casino at about 2:30 a.m. The argument was about the prison sentence of another family member, Gavin said.

    "I know people will be making something out of it because she (Jeanette) wasn't home with her kids," Gavin said. "But Jeanette is a good mom. She doesn't drink hardly at all and she loves those kids."

    Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley said Meeks was arrested at his residence early Sunday morning after officers responded to a call about an altercation at the house. Meeks was assaulted by several people, but Copley declined to provide further details.

    "We have various statements, physical evidence and circumstantial evidence leading to him (Meeks)," Copley said.

    The Clarks have rented the house for about three years, neighbors and Gavin said. Keith Clark was on disability and Jeanette Clark did home day care, Gavin said. It's unsure if they were married.

    Neighbors said the Clark children were polite and well behaved.

    "They were well-dressed and clean, and they always said hello," said Sue Johnson, who lives across the street. "I would see them walking down the street to go to church and they were always very nice. They stayed in the yard and always behaved."

    Another neighbor, Eddie Hartsock, tried to console Gavin as they sat outside of Gavin's house, directly across the street from the burned out Clark residence. Firefighters and investigators sifted through rubble and began boarding the house's windows late this morning.

    "They were good kids. We were going to have a block party for them," Hartsock said.

    The racially mixed neighborhood is a good place to raise a family, Gavin said.

    "Black, white, green, red, it doesn't matter," she said. "We all look out for each other."

    Friends, family and neighbors placed memorials in front of the boarded-up residence Sunday afternoon. Many were in tears and the neighborhood was full of people either driving or walking by the house.

    Meeks has several prior felony drug arrests, including a 2005 conviction that landed him a four-year prison sentence. Illinois Department of Corrections records show Meeks was released from prison in December and on parole until December 2008.

    The Quincy Fire Department was called at 3:03 a.m. and responded to the house at 3:09 a.m. They found heavy smoke and flames coming from the residence, a narrow two-story brick house, Assistant Chief Keith Franks said.

    One firefighter suffered a slight burn to his face, Walker said.

    The Illinois state fire marshal had two investigators on the scene early this morning.

    At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Quincy Mayor John Spring expressed his condolences to the Clark family and also said fire and police crews "did a heroic job" at the scene.

    "As a community, we mourn the death of five children. It's very sad," Spring said. "But I am very proud of the mean and women of our police department and fire department."

  • #2
    I hope that piece of S*%# rots in hell!
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

    "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep


    • #3

      This is a horrible incident, and the emotional and mental ramifications could be a heavy burden to bear. When you have a few moments of quiet time visit these web sites 10-4 or Cops for Christ
      Last edited by Silvershield; 04-18-2007, 05:50 PM. Reason: additional notes and title change
      I Peter 2:13 “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; (14) Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” Visit 10-4 Ministries


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