Illinois woman gets 60 years for kidnapping 85-year-old outside bingo hall, burning her alive

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by KMOV.com staff

khou.com

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 10:43 AM

BELLEVILLE, Ill.— A 39-year-old woman on Monday was sentenced to serve 60 years in prison for the murder of an 85-year-old grandmother burned alive in her vehicle in 2011.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Bob Haida found LaTosha Cunningham guilty of killing Yoko Cullen after she had left a Collinsville bingo hall on May 8, 2011.

Cunningham was given the maximum sentence of 60 years and prison. Because of the murder conviction, she will have to serve the whole time without parole. 

DeQuan Barnes pleaded guilty to Cullen’s murder in Sept. He was also sentenced to 60 years behind bars.

A third suspect, 30-year-old DeMarcus Barnes, was also charged in the crime but was later found to be mentally unfit to stand trial. A judge is set to reveiw his mental status at a later date. 

Authorities say the three suspects, all of Belleville, waited for Cullen outside a Collinsville bingo hall where one of them knew she played and stopped her from driving away. Authorities say Cullen was forced into her trunk and driven to East St. Louis, where her car was set on fire.

Investigators said Cullen was alive when the vehicle was burned.

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