EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine announced Wednesday that an Alton man has been convicted of attempted first-degree murder for a shooting that injured a woman and her daughter at the East Alton ice rink.

Berton L. NewtonBerton L. Newton, 31, received a sentence of 35 years in prison.

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“This crime happened in an area that is otherwise safe, and we intend to keep it safe," Haine said. "I commend our prosecutors who secured the conviction and sentence, the East Alton police and others who conducted a very thorough and swift investigation, and the victims and witnesses for their courage.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Morgan Hudson, in outlining the evidence to the judge, said police responded to the East Alton ice rink on Jan. 22, 2022, for a report of shots fired. Two women were struck by a bullet but survived. The women – a mother and daughter – told police they were approached on the parking lot by a man who asked for a light for a cigarette. When they said they didn’t have one, the man walked away. He soon returned, pointed a gun at them and fired a shot that struck both women. The women did not know the shooter. Through an investigation, East Alton Police identified Newton as the shooter. The investigation involved the examination of phone records and surveillance video, as well as forensic testing of a shell casing and a 9mm handgun, which was recovered and linked to Newton.

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The daughter, in a victim-impact statement, recalled seeing that the bullet had passed through her mother’s leg. The daughter recalled her mother saying, “Oh, it’s bad, it hit my femoral artery!” The daughter said her mother’s face became white, then the mother said, “I’m going to see Jesus now.”

The daughter said her mother survived the shooting in part because of quick help from people at the scene, including police officers, a former trauma nurse in the parking lot and a firefighter who was a retired Army medic, who happened to have his military-grade tourniquet with him.

“Peace of mind was stolen from everyone inside and outside of the rink that night...and for what?” the daughter stated. “Likely, we will never know.” The daughter said she has managed to forgive Newton, because not forgiving him “gives you space in my life, space that you don’t deserve.”

The daughter thanked East Alton Police Chief Scott Golike and his department. “I am so sorry we met under these circumstances but so thankful for your thorough investigation and arrest of this criminal,” the daughter stated. “To the prosecution, thank you for all your time, dedication to this case, and your commitment to justice. To our family and friends, thank you for being there for us throughout this last year. We could not have gotten through this without your love and support.”

Haine said, “Our team worked with these two wonderful women throughout the development and resolution of this case, and their strength and steadfastness even while dealing with such traumatic experiences was admirable, to say the least. I hope this conviction continues their healing.”

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