Sex offender agrees to 10 years

A Brownstown man accepted a prison sentence for a felony sex offense right before his case was to be presented to a jury.
Lloyd W. Merkley accepted a plea bargain on Tuesday that includes a 10-year prison term.
Merkley, 61, pleaded guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.
A jury trial for Merkley began on Monday, with 12 jurors and an alternate juror. Jurors were excused until Tuesday, when Merkley’s trial was to get under way with opening statements presented by Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Chancey and Merkley’s attorney, Fayette County Public Defender Ed Potter.
Also on Monday, the trial judge, Fayette County Resident Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm ruled that testimony related to statements made by family members of the victim and a county sheriff’s deputy could be used at trial.
On Tuesday morning, Merkley entered a guilty plea.
Under Illinois law, Merkley will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence for the Class X felony. Merkley was given credit for the time he has served in Fayette County Jail since June 24.
A Class X felony is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Merkley was charged in June of this year with the offense. Chancey said that the victim in this case was 5 years old.
Potter had requested a fitness evaluation for his client, but Associate Judge Allan Lolie denied the request, stating that Merkley was “able to state what a trial was and said he understood the proceedings.”

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