Mattoon Police looking for man allegedly responsible for murder


Mattoon – The Chief of Police, Jeff Branson, announced they are looking for the man they say is responsible for the murder of Benjamin Newton.


On March 18, 2013 a bartender killed in Mattoon suffered a single gun shot wound to the head, according to the Coles County coroner.


Mattoon Police were called to a bar called "Toasters" at 1408 Broadway Avenue on Monday evening around 7:37pm.  When they arrived they found the Benjamin Newton.  Paramedics worked on the man until it was determined he had died. Police determined cash was taken from the tavern and are calling the case a "robbery - homicide."


Police announced an arrest warrant against Thomas Ray O'Dell, after intense investigation by the Mattoon Police Department with the assistance of the State's Attorneys Office, along with other organizations.



Police were able to connect O'Dell to the murder by releasing a photo from the bar surveillance video. The man in the hoodie was a person of interest for the murder.


Police tell us a reader of Mattoon's local paper recognized O'Dell as the man in the photo. We also found O'Dell has a criminal history in Moultrie County. He pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and previously escaped from behind bars.


O'Dell is at large and is considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information on his whereabouts please call Crimestoppers at 1-866-345-8488 or the Mattoon Police Department at 235-5451.

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