DeSoto Man Sentenced for 1st Degree Murder

Jul 23, 2020

A southern Illinois man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to First Degree Murder.

The Jackson County State's Attorney says 54-year-old James Michael Deese of DeSoto admitted to strangling 76-year-old Frank Stonemark to death in October 2017.

Two other counts against Deese were dropped as part of a plea deal that required him to cooperate in the case involving Stonemark’s wife, Carmen. 

Deese's cooperation led to the indictment and conviction of Carmen Stonemark on Solicitation/Murder for Hire and Concealment of a Homicidal Death. She is serving a 20-year sentence.

Evidence revealed Deese and Mrs. Stonemark plotted to kill Mr. Stonemark. They hid his body on property owned by the Stonemark’s in rural Jackson County. They destroyed and burned the body months after the murder.