MURPHYSBORO — A Bellwood, Illinois, man was sentenced on Tuesday to nine years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to a Class 1 felony of possession of a weapon in a penal institution and a Class 3 felony charge of threatening a public official after a November 2016 incident in the Jackson County Jail.

According to a news release from Jackson County state's attorney Michael C. Carr, Travis S. Winters, 41, pleaded guilty in October to the charges.

On Nov. 29, while an inmate at the Jackson County Jail, Winters wrote a letter to the corrections staff of the jail threatening one of the corrections officers. He wrote that he would stab the officer in the eyes with a pencil over a disagreement over commissary money. Jackson County Sheriff's deputies investigated the threat, and during an interview, Winters threatened to kill the corrections officer and other officers in the jail.

During a search of Winters' cell, officers discovered a "shank," which is categorized as a weapon and is banned in the jail. Winters also admitted to having a shank in his sock at the time of the interview.

Winters received a sentence of nine years in IDOC for the possession of contraband in a penal institution, and an extended-term sentence of eight years in IDOC for threatening a public official. The sentences will be served concurrently. Winters will serve two years of mandatory supervised release following his prison sentence.

-- The Southern

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