DIXON – A Franklin Grove man pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder of a child Thursday afternoon in Lee County Court.
Ryan A. McClain, 38, a sex offender already doing prison time for crimes involving a child, was indicted Sept. 21 in the December 2016 death of a 1-year-old girl.
He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, aggravated battery of a child and aggravated domestic battery. His bond is $2 million.
Investigators say he shook and threw the girl into a playpen several times between November and Dec. 9, 2016, eventually fracturing her skull. She died a week later.
McClain is facing 4 to 100 years, or life, on the murder charge, 30 to 60 years for aggravated battery of a child, and 3 to 7 years for aggravated domestic battery.
He was represented by Lee County Public Defender Doug Lathe, but told Judge Jacquelyn Ackert that he was looking to hire an attorney.
His first pretrial conference is Dec. 19.
McClain is in Big Muddy River Correctional Center, sentenced a year ago Thursday to 5 years for indecent solicitation/aggravated sexual abuse. Charges of indecent solicitation of a child over the Internet, and failure to register as a sex offender were dismissed as part of his plea agreement.
In that case, investigators said McClain tried to establish a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl; he was arrested when a friend of the teen notified police.
In 2010, he was sentenced to 3 years for aggravated battery of a child and to a year and 6 months for indecent solicitation of a 1-year-old, and in 2009 he got a year and a half for domestic battery. Those sentences, all levied in Lee County, ran consecutively.
In Ogle County, McClain has four 2002 felony convictions: three for burglary involving vehicle break-ins, and one for damaging property. He was sentenced to 3 concurrent years on each charge.