CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A judge has set bond at $1 million for a Cumberland County man charged with first degree murder and two counts of aggravated domestic battery.
Toby Lane, 44, appeared in court via Zoom earlier this afternoon.
According to charges read by State’s Attorney Bryan Robbins, an Illinois State Police probable cause statement says that on or about July 18, Lane dropped 42-year-old Bridgett Duncan off at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital’s emergency room, unconscious, topless, without shoes, but still breathing.
He and Duncan were in a relationship.
But instead of staying or providing more information, the probable cause statement says Lane left the hospital after buying a soft drink at a vending machine. Later, Lane told ISP investigators that both he and Duncan “were in the woods together” and that he left her when she became sick.
Robbins said Lane added that he returned with his mother before taking her to the emergency room.
Duncan’s injuries were severe enough that she had to be life-flighted to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. She suffered multiple fractures to her face, including a broken eye socket, a broken jaw, fractured ribs, bruised legs, and bleeding in the brain.
According to an autopsy from Champaign County Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Thuney, Duncan died from blunt force trauma to the head at 1:42 a.m. on July 22. An inquest is pending.
Shon Park, Lane’s public defender, said the tie between Lane and Duncan was based on “tangential assumptions” since “there is certainly no statement of confession… no witnesses to this… other than the fact that he found her in the woods and took her to the emergency room.”
Robbins also pointed to Lane’s lengthy criminal history, including a 2002 charge of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, for which he was sentenced to three months in prison. He was charged in 2010 with domestic battery and also plead guilty in 2014 to another battery charge — among other offenses.
No less than 20 days ago, Robbins added, Lane had come off probation related to 2007 charge of resisting a police officer. His history on probation related to his numerous charges was peppered with violations, Robbins noted.
A judge noted Lane’s “extensive” and “violent” criminal history, as well as a lack of compliance with bond in the past, and set bond at $1 million accordingly. Lane will appear in court again on August 10.
Since Duncan’s death, her family says they’ve been overwhelmed with positive messages from people who knew her and knew “how she always tried to help.”
Duncan struggled with a serious drug addiction, but her sister, Angel, says “she was a daughter, sister and a mother – but most of all she was a beautiful person and will be missed.”
Angel said that the addiction had led to her being in an abusive relationship, and among other things, called her sister’s death at “the hands of a man who was supposed to have loved her” an act of “carelessness.”
“I remember being with her when she gave birth to my nephew and later my two nieces,” Angel wrote. “My sister loved her children and wanted to be somebody they could be proud of, but unfortunately the drugs robbed those children of the mother and childhood that every child deserves.
…I hope by sharing my sister’s story it might change one person’s life whether it’s addiction or an abusive relationship please get help or get out before it’s too late.”