Police & Courts

Farha: No charges in fatal shooting in Plainville

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 23, 2019 10:40 am Updated: Apr. 23, 2019 6:16 pm

PLAINVILLE, Ill. — The April 1 shooting death of a rural Plainville man is being labeled as a “justifiable homicide.”

Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha said Tuesday morning no charges would be filed in the death of Lowell “Randy” Oitker, 64, after reviewing witness statements, physical evidence and the crime scene. 

Farha said the woman who shot Oitker was subject to domestic violence for several years at Oitker’s hands, and that escalated.

“He had tried to run her over with a tractor earlier that day, and she was very fearful,”Farha said. “He was coming at her with a chair.”

Police reports obtained by The Herald-Whig though the Freedom Information Act reported that Oitker had been physically and verbally abusive and that he made several threats to kill his family.

He said the woman was fearful for life, as was as another woman who lived in the house, when Oitker was shot outside the home.

The woman who shot Oitker told Adams County Sheriff’s Department investigators that she had previously hidden a gun near the porch of the home after Oitker had threatened her son with a firearm.

Oitker, 64, was found by Adams County sheriff’s deputies after they were called about 7:30 p.m. to the home at 1963 N. 550th Ave. An autopsy report said Oitker died from two gunshot wounds.

After investigation, the deputies determined there was no threat to the public.

The Illinois State Police forensic team was notified and helped collect evidence from the scene, and members of the state’s attorney’s office also responded to the scene.

Farha said how the shooting unfolded became apparent early during the investigation, with consistent statements provided by those at the home.

“Other people who we spoke with confirmed the abusiveness that they had seen,” he said. “He kind of isolated the family, but people that knew the family and that knew of him did not have good things to say about him in terms of temper.”

Family members told investigators that Oitker had been admitted at Blessing Hospital for a psychological evaluation, and upon his March 2 release, he reportedly told his family that he would kill whoever was responsible for putting him in the hospital.

Dispatch logs show that the Sheriff’s Department had been called to the home twice in the last year for disturbances — once last November when Oitker was reportedly “destroying a car” and another time where he was assaulting a man with a hammer.

Both times, sheriff’s deputies calls were canceled by the caller. However, a Sheriff’s Department email said that any future calls to the home would result in deputy response even if the caller asks for the response to be canceled.

Farha praised the work of Adams County Sheriff Brian VonderHaar and Sheriff’s Department’s investigators and deputies. 

Both the state’s attorney’s office and the Sheriff’s Department said they understand the difficulties victims of domestic violence face and encourage any person dealing with this domestic violence to seek out counseling and other services.

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