Don’t miss these top stories Thursday on BND.com:
▪ The defense presented its case in the trial of John Holmon III, who is charged in the beating death of 21-month-old Jashean Rusher.
After the prosecution rested in the third day of the trial, an expert for the defense testified that the child may have had a medical issue that would explain the number of bruises found during the autopsy.
Holmon opted not to testify in his defense.
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▪ Matthew J. Fellhauer, 25, of Florissant, Mo., will no longer face charges in the theft of a baby Jesus statue from the Nativity scene of an Edwardsville church.
The church agreed to drop the charges after meeting with Fellhauer, who has agreed to pay restitution for the damages and repairs to the statue.
Church officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
▪ A woman who complained to police that she was raped outside of a Collinsville nightclub has changed her story.
The woman from Imperial, Mo. now says she made the whole episode up.
Lisa M. Soest, 21, has been charged with two felonies in relation to her false claims.
▪ Less than a month after St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s new president and chief executive officer took over, the medical institution has announced layoffs.
According to a statement released by the hospital, 26 workers will lose their jobs.
The cuts were blamed on an increase in outpatient service.
▪ Winter weather created a mess for area motorists at times this week.
Check out this photo gallery of traffic troubles across the metro-east.