Beating victim says man who beat him got off ‘lucky’

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BUCKLEY, Ill. (WCIA) — A man who was brutally beaten outside a bar is reacting to the sentence given to the man who beat him.

Shayne Weber pleaded guilty yesterday to aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. Weber beat Michael Hilligoss in July 2017. He is sentenced to four years of probation.

Mug shot of Shayne Weber who pleaded guilty to aggravated battery causing great bodily harm

They say it wasn’t what they wanted from the beginning of all this, but at this point, they’re just happy that chapter has ended.

“The one verdict we wanted was guilty. And we got that, so we’re satisfied with getting that guilty verdict,” said Rita Hilligoss.

But three years ago, you may have heard differently. 27-year-old Shayne Weber brutally beat Michael Hilligoss outside the Buckley Dutchmaster bar in July 2017. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years probation.

“He got off lucky… luckier than heck,” said victim Michael Hilligoss. “To me, he’s not a man. I mean, I’m sorry I’m getting older, but he shouldn’t’ have thumped me. He shouldn’t have beat me up.”

The then-67-year-old had broken ribs, a broken collarbone and bleeding in his brain. His wife, Rita Hilligoss, says she hopes the probation will be what Webber needs to better himself.

“I feel that maybe he will change his ways since this, maybe he learned his lesson, hopefully he did,” said Rita. “I can’t say I can forgive him yet. Eventually I probably will forgive him, but at the moment, the pain’s still there.”

But for her and her husband, the consequences of what Webber did will never end.

“He’s gonna be suffering for the rest of his life,” said Rita. “He’ll never get better. We’ll just pray for the time that he can last without getting worse. Now he’s a burden on me. But he’s my husband, so I try to think of it as not being a burden.”

Investigators also looked into a possible connection between Weber and Daniel Connolly’s death. Connolly died from suffocation outside that same Buckley bar, but the Iroquois County State’s Attorney’s office says they didn’t have enough evidence to charge Weber for that. The Hilligoss family tried in 2017 to get the Dutchmaster bar to close. They said they thought the bar was negligent and asked village trustees to close it. It is still open.

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