EDWARDSVILLE — State's Attorney Tom Gibbons announced a plea Monday for one of the two co-defendants in a 2013 murder case out of Alton.
Patrick A. Chase, 29, was charged Dec. 20, 2013, for the murder of Courtney Coats, 30, who had been reported missing on Nov. 25, 2013.
Agencies from multiple area jurisdictions assisted in the search for Coats. Her body was eventually found near the Joe Page Bridge in East Hardin. While her body was discovered in Greene County, it was determined that the crime had occurred in Madison County. In addition to murder charges, Chase and his co-defendant, Brandon L. Chittum, 31, a resident of Collinsville, were also charged with dismembering a human body and concealment of a homicidal death.
Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli accepted a guilty plea from Chase for one count of first-degree murder and one count of dismembering a human body. In exchange for his guilty plea, Chase was sentenced to 45 years in prison on the murder charge and 20 years on the dismemberment. He will be required to serve 100 percent of the sentence for murder and 50 percent on the dismemberment. The sentences will run consecutively.
Coats had been in a relationship with Chase, and they lived together in Alton. The investigation showed that on Nov. 23, 2013, a verbal argument between Coats and Chase at their shared apartment escalated into a violent episode that ended with the death of the victim. Her body was dismembered at the scene prior to the attempts to conceal her death.
In a press release Monday, Gibbons praised the work of his Violent Crimes Unit and thanked Assistant State's Attorney Crystal Uhe for her work in securing a lengthy sentence for Chase.
“Courtney’s death and dismemberment was a shocking reminder of the darkness and depravity that hides in the hearts of brutal and sadistic individuals. Only with the outstanding work of ASA Uhe and so many other dedicated professionals were we able to resolve this case and, hopefully, begin to restore justice to Courtney’s family, friends, loved ones and our entire community. I am satisfied that he is going to prison for a long time and will no longer be able to threaten the people of Madison County,” Gibbons said.Gibbons also expressed thanks to all of the agencies and individuals who helped solve the case including Alton police and fire departments, Madison County Emergency Management, Calhoun and Greene County sheriff’s departments, Madison County and Greene County Coroner’s Office, Illinois Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife, Alton Volunteer Emergency Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The case against Chittum, who was present during the murder, is pending.