Father arrested for aggravated battery found not guilty

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MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA)–A father accused of beating a man he says exposed himself in front of his kids was found not guilty. Last year, Jesse Baird was at Sunrise Apartments with his girlfriend, children, and his girlfriend’s mother was there too. The Coles County State’s Attorney says Baird claims he caught Darren Bartelt fondling himself in front of his toddlers.

“He struck Mr. Bartelt about the head two to three times by his own testimony, knocked him out unconscious, threw him to the floor, and then proceeded to punch and stomp his head six to eight times punches and two to three times stomping his head. Mr. Baird gave a confession to that to the police department,” said Jesse Danley, Coles County State’s Attorney.

A Go Fund Me was set up to raise money for his bail. Alex Walker says they were able to raise $5,000 in less than a week. Baird’s family paid for the rest.

The man Baird beat up has never been charged. “I think that’s very concerning,” said Walker.

“I know there has been some rumbling about why isn’t Mr. Bartelt charged, but what he did was deplorable. Unfortunately, it’s not what I know it’s what I can prove,” said Danley, “The problem from the beginning of this case is we have had very little cooperation from any witnesses and I can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt at this point or in good conscience what those children saw.”

The state’s attorney says they are looking at charges for Darren Bartelt. His whereabouts are unknown.

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