Bond set at $1M each for 3 men accused of shooting Marion, Ill. students with Orbeez pellets from passing vehicle

According to online court records, their bonds were set at $1 million each on Friday.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 12:56 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:21 PM CST
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MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - A $1 million bond was set for each of the suspects involved in the Orbeez pellet shooting on March 1.

Eadin S. Stewart, 18, of Johnston City; Ryan J. Nance, 23, of Carterville; and Travis J. Rule, 18, of Energy, were each charged with 45 counts of aggravated battery. Police said they believe the incidents were part of a Tik Tok Challenge.

According to online court records, their bonds were set at $1 million each on Friday. They also had their preliminary hearings scheduled for March 22.

Williamson County State Attorney Ted Hampson explained why the bond is set so high.

“That’s our job here in the Williamson County State’s Attorney’s office is to protect the people in Williamson County from those who seek to do harm to its people or its residence.” Hampson said.

Hampson said the $1 million bonds were set two days after the incident.

“Our bond is set in these cases within 48 hours of the offense. Given the nature of everything that goes on in our country as you know with school shootings and issues of mass concern,” Hampson said. “And obviously a lot parents and families were very concerned when facts began to come in about the alleged, about all the things that allegedly occurred in this incident.”

Hampson said the bond is set by the court and court documents show that Nance is seeking to lower his bond.

“Obviously a very concerning event as alleged and we want to make sure that the investigation is complete so at this point they’ve been through the original process of being their initial advisement, bond has been set and they’ve been appointed attorneys as my understanding,” Hampson said. “And of course they’re innocent until proven guilty.”

Hampson said each individual has a right bond reduction hearing.

“I don’t think we’re trying to send any message,” Hampson said. “I think when we make recommendations on bond, it’s usually based upon circumstances of the incident, the significant amount of violence and or injury involved, maybe they have an extensive criminal history we’re going to take that into account.”

The three were arrested at a gas station and convenience store on South Court Street on Wednesday, March 1 and booked into the Williamson County Jail. The preliminary hearings for all 3 individuals is set for March 22.

According to Marion Police, 37 junior high students were hit with what was believed to be Orbeez or airsoft-type weapon from a passing vehicle on Cherry Street around 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday.

According to a post on the Marion Unit 2 School District Facebook page, the students were on the track during their PE class.

While police were on the scene investigating, officers received a call that another person had been hit by an Orbeez pellet from a passing black vehicle on West Boulevard.

A short time later, a Marion officer reported finding the suspected vehicle parked at the fuel pumps at the Casey’s General Store on S. Court St.

Police said several Orbeez pellets were seen on the seats and floorboards of the vehicle Stewart, Nance and Rule were occupying.

The three Williamson County men were taken into custody.

School leaders say there were no major injuries and all the students involved were seen by the school nurse. The person hit on S. Boulevard also did not suffer any major injuries.

The suspects accused of shooting Orbeez pellets at dozens of Marion Junior High School students appeared in court on Friday, March 3.