South Beloit man charged in boy's shooting death, released until arraignment
Family and friends mourn the death of a 10-year-old Beloit boy who was accidentally shot Friday night.
According to WIFR, the victim's family has identified him as Aidyn Hansen of Beloit. Relatives have set up a GoFundMe and a Meal Train in support of the family. Aidyn leaves behind a two-year-old brother, a six-year-old sister, mother Ashley Gray, grandmother Tonya Colburn, grandfather David Gray, aunt Melinda Rojas, godmother Brittney Szambelan, and other loving relatives.
His mother says that every time she starts to feel anger about her son's death, she knows he would have said, "Mommy, it was an accident. Mom, you have to forgive."
The shooting happened in Illinois just south of Shirland Road on Townline Ave, in South Beloit's Northgate Estates, at the home of Jose Manuel Sandovaltenorio.
According to Jeff Kolkey's story in the Rockford Register Star, prosecutors say that when Sandovaltenorio went out with his wife to a festival in Beloit Friday night, he left 10-year-old Aidyn Hansen and another 9-year-old boy alone at their home.
They say he also left two unsecured pistols hidden under a loose floorboard in the bedroom.
The Winnebago County Coroner's Office announced on Monday:
The boy was pulseless and resuscitative efforts were performed. He was transported to a local hospital where despite all treatment efforts, he died from his injuries. He was pronounced deceased on 9/15/2023 at 8:40 p.m. An autopsy was performed today, 9/18/2023. Autopsy findings revealed he died from a gunshot wound.
In a detention hearing required under the newly-enacted Pretrial Fairness Act, Winnebago County State's Attorney J. Hanley sought to block Sandovaltenorio's release. According to the Rock River Current, Hanley said that it was easy to remove the floorboard concealing the guns and ammunition.
But Associate Judge Scott R. Paccagnini noted that Sandovaltenorio has been a resident of the area for 13 years with no criminal record except for two traffic violations in 2017 and 2021.
And Sandovaltenorio's attorney Jason Tempin argued that since the two pistols had already been seized as evidence, Sandovaltenorio was not a danger to society and should not be kept in jail. He also said that since Sandovaltenorio has a job in the area, he is not a flight risk.
Paccagnini agreed with Tempin, and ordered Sandovaltenorio to be released until his next hearing on Oct. 17. But the judge also ordered him not to have contact with his wife or children and to stay away from the family home in South Beloit. He also may not have any weapons or guns.
Last year Hanley, though he strongly criticized the Pretrial Fairness Act, praised "New Jersey’s 2017 move to a cashless bail system," which gives judges more discretion to keep people behind bars when they feel it's justified. With the previous cash bail system, defendants could be released as long as they could come up with the bail money, favoring rich criminals.
In Sandovaltenorio's case, Hanley told the Register Star after the hearing, "We argued he should be detained based on the severity of the charge and the underlying facts, but ultimately the court disagreed and found he should be released with those conditions."
For now, Sandovaltenorio is free until his arraignment on Oct. 17, 2023 at 10 a.m. in the Winnebago County 17th Judicial Circuit Court. Prosecutors are expected to bring a bill of indictment against him for the two charges. But the investigation continues and more charges may be filed.
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