KEWANEE, Ill. (WHBF) — A Kewanee, Illinois, man who was convicted of killing a 3-year-old girl in 1995 is in custody again for sexual abuse of a minor.
Scott English was convicted for the death of Jami Sue Pollock, the child of his live-in girlfriend. In 2020, he was released after he served nearly 25 years in prison.
According to Henry County Court records, he now is being held in Henry County Jail after a judge on Monday set his bond at $250,000 — 10% applies — for the offense of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Court records say the victim was a relative less than 18 years old. English is set for a preliminary hearing June 6 in Henry County Court.
The history of the 1995 slaying
According to casetext.com, a legal research site, during a jury trial in Henry County, Dr. Violette Hnilica, a forensic pathologist, testified about Jami Sue’s autopsy. Hnilica’s examination revealed many bruises on multiple parts of Jami Sue’s body, including massive injuries to her head, back, and chest and scattered bruises on her arms and legs. The bruises were in various stages of healing, according to casetext.com.
Jami Sue had severe, recent head injuries, including a swollen and bruised area on the back right side of her head covering an eight-centimeter area of hemorrhage under her scalp. Hnilica testified that blunt force trauma to the head contributed to Jami Sue’s death, according to casetext.com.
Hnilica also found evidence the girl was suffocated. Fingernail injuries Jami Sue had made to her own chest, consistent with her having struggled while something — like a pillow — had been held over her face. Hnilica said it was unlikely that Jami Sue had accidentally suffocated herself in light of the fingernail marks. Hnilica said asphyxiation also contributed to Jami Sue’s death, according to casetext.com.
Investigator Sheri Ranos with the Illinois State Police testified she interviewed English on Oct. 11, 1995, the day after Jami Sue’s death, at the Kewanee Police Department. In the initial interview, he said he came home about 1 a.m. Oct. 10, 1995, and went to check on Jami Sue and her brother Preston in the bedroom they shared, according to casetext.com.
He found her tangled in her blanket and fixed the blanket. She cried for her mother, who briefly came into the room. At first, he claimed that at approximately 3:45 a.m., his son David woke him up, and he again went into Jami Sue and Preston’s room, where he found her lifeless under her blanket, according to casetext.com.
He then changed his story, reasoning that he must have gone into the children’s room at 4:30 a.m. He maintained that between 1 and 4:30 a.m., no one else had entered the children’s room. He speculated that Jami Sue may have died of suffocation because she had rolled herself in her blanket and could not breathe, according to casetext.com.
English said that during breakfast on Oct. 7, 1995, he inadvertently grabbed Jami Sue by the neck when she ran past him and let a mark on her neck, caestext.com says.
On the same day, he said, he was giving Jami Sue and David a bath when Jami Sue stepped on David, causing David to yell. He claimed that, in the commotion, he pushed Jami Sue back with his elbow, causing her to land on her back on the bathroom floor, resulting in bruises, according to casetext.com.
English said he hit Jami Sue on the day she died. He said when he went into the children’s room at 4:30 a.m., he found her tangled in her blanket again. When he pulled the blanket off of her, “she whined,” which “made him so mad that he hit her.” He believed he hit the back of her head, according to casetext.com.
He then recalled going into the room at 1 a.m. and fixed Jami Sue’s blanket. He then went into the room a second time about 3:30 a.m., saw her tangled in her blanket again, yelled at her, and hit her in the head, according to casetext.com.
He went into the room a third time at approximately 4:30 a.m., at which time he found her lifeless. Later, he said that when he went into the room at 3:30 a.m., he hit her on the head twice, not once, according to casetext.com.
The jury found English guilty of felony murder and aggravated battery of a child. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 2020.
Jami Sue’s mother released
According to The Center on Wrongful Convictions — Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Jami Sue’s mother, Tabitha Pollock, was sleeping when English killed her 3-year-old daughter at their Kewanee home.
The following year, a Henry County jury convicted Tabitha Pollock of first-degree murder and aggravated battery based on the prosecution’s contention that she “should have known” English posed a danger to Jami Sue’s life. The judge sentenced Tabitha Pollock to 36 years in prison, according to the center.
The Third District Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the conviction in 1999. But after Tabitha Pollock wrote to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, a law student read the letter and took it to Center staff counsel Jane Raley, who agreed to represent Pollock, according to the center.
The Illinois Supreme Court agreed in 2001 to hear the case and in October 2002, unanimously reversed Tabitha Pollock’s conviction, “holding that a defendant cannot be convicted on an accountability theory based on what he or she ‘should have known,'” according to the center.
Tabitha Pollock was released in 2002.