Paxton man charged with attempted murder

PAXTON — A Paxton man was arraigned Monday afternoon on charges of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated domestic battery for allegedly holding a female household member’s head under water, strangling her and fracturing her nose during a domestic dispute at their home.

Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian announced the charges Monday against Demetrius D. Couzens, 40, who listed an address at 227 E. Orleans St.

Couzens was charged Monday in Ford County Circuit Court with one count of attempted first-degree murder, a Class X felony, and two counts each of aggravated domestic battery, a Class 2 felony, in connection with the alleged Jan. 9 incident.

Charging documents allege that Couzens tried to force the head of a female household member under water in the home’s bathtub, knowing that doing so would “create a strong probability of her death.” During the same incident, Couzens allegedly struck the female in the face with his hand, fracturing her nose, and strangled her. 

Upon Killian’s request, the Ford County Record has agreed to withhold the alleged victim’s name until after Couzens appears in court for a preliminary hearing at 11 a.m. Jan. 31.

Couzens remains at the Ford County Jail in Paxton on a “no-bond” hold, Killian said. Couzens is also being held on a parole hold from the Illinois Department of Corrections related to a 2013 conviction for aggravated domestic battery in Kane County.

The Illinois Department of Corrections’ website shows that Couzens also had a prior conviction for attempted murder in Winnebago County in 2004.

If convicted of attempted murder, Couzens faces a sentence ranging from 20 to 80 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, Killian said. If convicted of aggravated domestic battery, Couzens faces between seven and 14 years in prison.

During Monday’s arraignment, Couzens requested a public defender and attorney Harvey Welch of Urbana was appointed to represent him.

Earlier this month, a Ford County judge granted an emergency order of protection against Couzens. The petition was filed by the victim of the Jan. 9 alleged crimes. Couzens is due in court to respond to the petition on Jan. 31.

Five days before the alleged domestic dispute, Couzens pleaded guilty in Ford County Circuit Court to illegal transportation of alcohol by a driver and received six months of court supervision and fines.

Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County


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