PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria man could go to trial in October in connection wtih the latest homicide, a judge ordered THursday.

Ronnie L. Simmons, 21, of the 1200 block of Northeast Madison Avenue, appeared in Peoria County Circuit Court where he pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a weapon by a felon in connection with the July 6 fatal shooting of Demetrious E. Davis.

An Oct. 23 trial date was set though it’s possible that could be pushed back as few people tend to go to trial on their first setting.

At about 6:15 p.m. July 6, Peoria police responded to the area of Northeast Madison Avenue between Laveille Street and Spring Street on a report of two people being shot. There, officers found a vehicle which had been struck by gunfire.

In a news release, Sgt. Amy Dotson, a police spokeswoman said, there was no alert from the ShotSpotter gunfire detection system. Rather, officers learned of the shooting scene from a phone call from a resident. 

Officers were told a witness had shot dice with three men earlier that day, two of whom were the victims. Simmons had been losing money throughout the game and left several times to get more cash to keep on playing, Peoria County prosecutors said.

The last time Simmons returned, the victims were preparing to go, and Simmons attempted to rob them at gunpoint, demanding they “give it up,” according to Peoria County prosecutors.

Simmons shot Davis and then the other victim when that person tried to take the gun away from him, prosecutors allege. Both victims were taken to the hospital by a private vehicle where Davis died.

Simmons fled on foot but was taken into custody at a house on Madison. A gun was recovered inside the house, prosecutors allege.

If convicted of murder, Simmons faces at least 45 years and possibly up to life in prison. He also facing six to 30 years in prison on the aggravated battery charge which relates to the second victim. That would be served consecutively to the murder charge if Simmons was convicted.

He remains at the Peoria County Jail on $1.5 million bond.

Davis’ death was the city’s 11th homicide the year.