Sidnee Stephens was just fifteen years old when she went missing on July 19th, 2010. Sidnee had a history of mental health struggles and had previously attempted suicide (Twisted Sisters, 2020). She had also run away in the past, eventually coming back home on her own. When she disappeared in July of 2010, the family initially believed she had left by her own choice and feared she may harm herself. When the truth about Sidnee’s disappearance became known, the entire community would be shocked and devastated. This is the story of the P’Town Saints Murder.
Sidnee Stephens was born in 1995 and was the youngest of three siblings. Along with her older brother, Sidnee had a sister three years older than her named Dakota. Sidnee, like most younger sisters, wanted to hang around her sister and her friends. This, of course, annoyed her sister. As the girls grew into teenagers, they both became a little rebellious and hung out in similar circles yet failed to form a strong bond with each other.
At one point, Dakota started dating a boy named Chad Bennett who was a few years older than her. Dakota fell head over heels for Chad. Chad Bennett had a close friend, Carl Dane, who was actually dating Sidnee for some time. However, Sidnee ended the relationship with Carl. According to Investigation Discovery’s episode of Twisted Sisters on this case, Dakota found a journal written by her younger sister and was devastated by what she read. Sidnee wrote in her journal about having a sexual relationship with Chad Bennett, her sister’s boyfriend (Twisted Sisters, 2020).
Chad Bennett and Carl Dane were the leaders of a local gang called the P-Town Saints. Also part of the gang was James Glazier, seventeen years old, and Robbie Mueller, fifteen years old. When Dakota and Chad Bennett’s relationship became serious, Dakota became “the queen bee of the P-Town Saints” (Twisted Sisters, 2020). Chad was considered the top leader, followed by Dane.
On July 19th, 2010, Sidnee Stephen disappeared from her bedroom. Her purse, money, cell phone, and other items were still in her room. Given her history of suicidal attempts and running away, her family initially believe Sidnee had runaway and feared she may be suicidal. The community in Perry County, Illinois rallied together to search for the missing teenager.
On the morning of July 25th, 2010, two fisherman found badly decomposed human remains in the water near the Beaucoup Creek Bridge south of Pinckneyville (Stewart, 2012). Knowing that there was a local teenager missing, investigators searched for a way to identify the remains. They were able to show jewelry found on the body to Sidnee’s mother, who tentatively identified the remains as those of Sidnee. The body was conclusively identified through dental records. The autopsy revealed Sidnee died from “homicidal violence” (Stewart, 2012).
The investigation into Sidnee’s murder starts with her close friends and family members. Her ex-boyfriend Carl Dane was brought in for questioning on July 28th. The police found blood on his clothing (Stewart, 2012). He initially claimed to be over the break-up with Sidnee, which occurred a few months prior to her death, and denied any involvement with her murder. He eventually confessed, however, claiming he alone strangled Sidnee until she passed out, dragged her to his vehicle, drove her to the bridge, shot her, then pushed her off the bridge (Twisted Sisters, 2020). Police were very skeptical about him acting alone, however.
They investigators decided to dig a little deeper into the P-Town Saints gang. They interviewed James Glazier, another gang member, on July 29th. James Glazier admitted to being a part of the crime and implicates a third member of the gang, Robbie Mueller. Robbie is brought in and he also confessed. Mueller and Glazier claimed Dane was the one who told them they were going to kill Sidnee and that they would be killed if they didn’t cooperate (People V. Glazier, 2015). (Carl Dane)
The confessions built the story of truth behind Sidnee’s murder. On the evening of July 19th, Sidnee was asleep in her bed when James Glazier and Carl Dane came into her home uninvited through a patio door while Robbie Mueller kept watch. Glazier and Dane choked Sidney until she passed out and then began to drag her body out to their car. However, she at some point regained consciousness and they strangled her again. The three boys then drove to the bridge where Dane shot Sidnee two to four times (Stewart, 2012). They then dumped her body into the water below.
(Below: James Glazier)
A few days after the murder, Dane and Glazier returned to the area where Sidnee’s body was and tied a cement block to her remains with a rope in an attempt to weigh her down (Stewart, 2012). Similar cement blocks and the other half of the rope were found at Dane’s home (Twisted Sisters, 2020). It seemed the case was closed, but no motive had been determined for the crime. Even more suspicious to investigators was that Dakota Wall, Sidnee’s sister, and her boyfriend Chad Bennett were considered the leaders of this gang. Did they know about the murder?
Footage from investigator’s first interview in 2010 with Dakota Wall is shown in the Twisted Sisters episode and it’s alarming. Dakota, who just lost her sister to homicide, appears unmoved and emotionless through out the interrogation. When asked about who was responsible for planning her sister’s murder, she blamed Dane. However, she later admitted that she knew Sidnee had been murdered before her remains were found. When asked about the specifics of what the boys told her, she said she was sketchy on details because she wasn’t paying full attention to the conversation. She claimed that she was trying to watch a movie as they described her sister’s murder, so she was not focused on details (Twisted Sisters, 2020).
Dakota Wall was arrested in 2010, at the time she admitted to knowing her sister had been killed but not reporting it, of felony obstruction of justice. She plead guilty to a lesser charge of obstructing a peace officer (Hottensen, 2014). However, authorities believed that she played a larger role and kept searching for evidence. (Below: Dakota Wall)
Carl Dane plead guilty in 2011 to first degree murder and was sentenced to sixty years in prison (Stewart, 2012). The night before he was to be transported to IDOC custody from county jail, he was found dead, hung in his cell. James Glazier and Robbie Mueller were both found guilty in a bench trial. Glazier, seventeen at the time, was sentenced to sixty years in prison. Robbie, who was just fifteen at the time, was sentenced to thirty-seven years (Stewart, 2012).
The story does not end here, however. In 2012, investigators were able to piece together more of the story about Sidnee’s death from the assailants and determined that two other people had been actively involved in the conspiracy to commit murder. Dakota Wall and Chad Bennett were arrested and charged with first degree murder, kidnapping, and home invasion (Stewart, 2012). While their role in the crime remained unclear, Wall admitted to knowing the murder was going to happen and leaving the patio door unlocked so that the gang members could enter her home and kill Sidnee. Charges against Chad Bennett, thought to be the gang leader and responsible for the crime, were dropped due to lack of evidence after his 2012 arrest.
(Right: Chad Bennett)
Dakota Wall plead guilty in 2014 to a lesser charge of home invasion (Hottensen, 2014). She was sentenced to twenty-six years in prison for her role.
Chad Bennett was eventually charged once again with first degree murder in 2018. He ended up accepting a plea deal for home invasion and was sentenced to twenty years in prison (Duncan, 2018). Robbie Mueller, who was just fifteen at the time of the crime, was successful at having his murder conviction vacated in 2018 on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel (Duncan, 2018). Sidnee’s mother agreed to allow him to plea to a lesser charge, home invasion, and he was resentenced to twenty-six years in prison in 2018 (Duncan, 2018).
Sidnee’s mother stated that she forgave Mueller, whom she has had regular contact with, and feels he is truly remorseful. She said, “He was put into a situation by a couple of bullies” (Duncan, 2018). In response, Mueller said, “I promise I’ll make something of my life and there won’t be any day where you regret forgiving me” (Duncan, 2018). (Below: Robbie Mueller updated photo)
James Glazier has appealed his conviction and sentence but has so far been unsuccessful (People V. Glazier, 2015). Glazier and Dane were the ones who physically murdered Sidnee, so it seems fitting that Glazier spend sixty years in prison. As mentioned before, Dane committed suicide after his sentencing.
(Right: James Glazier Updated Photo)
The motive for the murder still remains unclear, although family and friends have suggested many motives. First and foremost, Sidnee’s friends believe Dakota was jealous of Sidnee and that this jealously boiled over when she read the diary entry detailing her sexual encounter with Chad Bennett. Many believe that Dakota was the mastermind, but this has not been proven. Another suggested motive was that Sidnee was a “snitch” on the gang, but I found no credible evidence to support this claim either.
(Right: Chad Bennett updated photo)
I think it’s important to note that although this group of people referred to themselves as a gang, gang activity is not something common in the small Southern Illinois town of Pinckneyville. In multiple references, it is suggested this group of kids portrayed themselves as a hardcore gang but were far from it until the murder of Sidnee Stephens. In the end, jealousy and peer pressure cost Sidnee Stephens her life and forever changed the course of the five young people involved in the crime as well as their families. Sidnee’s mother lost two daughters through this tragedy but hopes something positive will come from telling Sidnee's story.
(Dakota Wall, Updated Photo)
Twisted Sisters (2020) The Patio Door; Investigation Discovery; Season 3; Episode 8
Hottensen, C. (2014) Dakota Wall sentenced to 26 years in prison; The Southern Illinoisan; Retireved at: Dakota Wall sentenced to 26 years in prison | Local News | thesouthern.com
Rickerl, S. (2010) Pinckneyville girl was killed; The Southern Illinoisan; Retrieved at: 28 Jul 2010, Page 1 - Southern Illinoisan at Newspapers.com
Duncan, D. (2018) Robbie Mueller sentenced to 26 years after 2012 murder conviction was vacated in Sidnee Stephen’s death; The Southern Illinoisan; Retrieved at: Robbie Mueller sentenced to 26 years after 2012 murder conviction was vacated in Sidnee Stephens' death | Pinckneyville | thesouthern.com
KFVS12 (2012) 2 additional arrests in the Sidnee Stephens murder case; Retrieved at: 2 additional arrests in the Sidnee Stephens murder case (kfvs12.com)
FindAGrave (Accessed 2021) Sidnee Edith Cheyenne Stephens; Retrieved at: Sidnee Edith Cheyenne Stephens (1995-2010) - Find A Grave Memorial
Associated Press (2011) Dane pleads guilty to murder in Sidnee Stephens case; Retrieved at: Dane Pleads Guilty to Murder in Sidnee Stephens Case | WSIU
People V Glazier (2015) People V. Glaizer; Retrieved at: PEOPLE v. GLAZIER | FindLaw
Stewart, B. (2012) Tragedy in Perry County; The Southern Illinoisan; Retrieved at: 28 Oct 2012, Page 48 - Southern Illinoisan at Newspapers.com