PERRY COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A year ago this week, two fishermen found the body of a 15-year-old girl in a Perry County creek. On Thursday, the attorney for one of the teens charged with her murder says his client is innocent.
Robbie Mueller covered his face with a file folder and wore a bullet proof vest as he walked out of the Perry County Courthouse for another time. But for the first time his attorney, Charlie Stegmeyer told Heartland News, Mueller is wrongfully charged.
"I don't believe my client had any role in her death," Stegmeyer said. "I believe my client was forced to be present at the scene. He made a complete statement to the police, indicating that he was forced by gun point to be there and threatened his family if he didn't participate."
Fishermen found Sidnee Stephens body under this bridge. A short time later police arrested Carl Dane, James Glazier and Robbie Mueller. Last month Dane pleaded guilty to killing Stephens. He'll spend the next 60 years in prison.
But Stegmeyer says in court documents Dane takes full responsibility for what happened to Stephens.
"The way the case is charged, it's charged, as if we are an accomplice or we participated actively in her death, which we did not," Stegmeyer said.
It's an argument Stegmeyer says he plans to take to a jury if needed. Meanwhile Mueller returns to jail to wait out the court process. Mueller's mother says it's a sad situation for everybody, including Stephens's family, who lost their loved one a year ago this month.
"We all want justice for Sidnee, but on the same token I want justice on my son's side too, because he's been in jail a year and he don't deserve to spend the rest of his life for trying to protect himself and his family," Rhonda Mueller, Robbie's mother said.
Stammerer has yet to file court papers to dismiss the charges. He says he plans to the do that in the near future. Meanwhile Perry County State's Attorney David Stanton says he has no comment on the allegations raised by the defense.
Stephen's half sister Dakota Wall is also charged with obstruction of justice in this case. She's expected in court next month.
Since Stephen's death, her family has launched a scholarship fund at Pinckneyville High School where she once attended school. This year they gave away one scholarship worth $1,000.
Her family has also started the Sidnee Stephens Bipolar Fund at SIRRS (Southern Illinois Regional Social Services) in Carbondale. Tracy Stephens says Sidnee was bipolar and that's where she got counseling for three years. To help keep the fund going, the second annual poker run, benefit and silent auction is set for September 24 in Du Quoin.