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Daily Egyptian

Family of Carbondale man in disbelief over charges connected to burned body

Robert J. Dennis. (Carbondale police)

Robert J. Dennis. (Carbondale police)

By Bill Lukitsch

Family of the Carbondale man who is accused of concealing a homicidal death said Tuesday afternoon they were shocked to learn of the allegations pending against him.

Robert Dennis, 25, of Carbondale, appeared in court and was read his charge for the first time Tuesday. He is the second suspect to be arrested by police in connection with a burned body found in a wooded area on the east side of town in August.

During the hearing, Judge Ralph Bloodworth noted the felony charge carries a possible two to five years’ prison sentence.

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His older brother Michael Dennis, 31, was present in the courtroom while his younger sister and his fiancé waited on a wooden bench in the hallway. In the courthouse lobby after the hearing, Michael Dennis described his brother as a peaceful man, and said he is still in disbelief over the charges.

“I think my brother got sucked in the middle of it,” he said.

Jackson County emergency personnel transport a body discovered Aug. 30 from the Piles Fork Creek area along East Main Street. (Luke Nozicka | @lukenozicka)

Jackson County emergency personnel transport a body discovered Aug. 30 from the Piles Fork Creek area along East Main Street. (Luke Nozicka | @lukenozicka)

Police have said little about the circumstances surrounding the death. No additional charges have been filed against either defendant, and the medical examiner’s office has declined to share details regarding the cause of death with the Daily Egyptian.

While the official identity of the woman has been withheld by police pending forensic verification, court records named Robin L. Stief as the victim. A woman by that name was reported missing in Mount Vernon on Aug. 25, five days before the body was found.

The body was discovered after firefighters responded to reports of a fire Aug. 30 near Piles Fork Creek. After extinguishing the flames, the remains of a woman were found in a metal trash can, according to Carbondale police.

Tiesha Anderson, 22, of Collinsville, the first suspect arrested and also charged with concealment of a homicidal death, is due in court Nov. 3. Her bond is set at $750,000.

Robert Dennis was appointed a public defender during Tuesday’s hearing. His bond is set at $500,000 and his next court date is also Nov. 3.

Campus editor Bill Lukitsch can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @lukitsbill.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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