Those who work in Tazewell County’s criminal courts describe defendants who keep returning on new charges as “frequent fliers.” Two Pekin men in particular stand out for their mounting air miles.


Brad Denham, 22, returned to prison this week with his second three-year term imposed in the past two years, the latest for possessing ingredients to make meth last September.


Aaron Agee, 40, appeared bound for lengthy time behind bars on his latest charges, including felony domestic battery and smuggling drugs into Tazewell County’s jail.

The drug-related charge was dismissed in October based on test results of the pills found in his cell. The battery charge was reduced to a misdemeanor in a plea agreement last week.


Agee’s sentence, however, requires him to obey strict requirements, including a curfew, of his two-year probation term. The conditions could challenge Agee, who’s logged nearly 50 traffic tickets and eight prior criminal convictions.


Before Denham’s drug-related conviction, he’d built his criminal record on what a prosecutor called a “pretty remarkable, pretty sad” history of violence.


“He’s been involved with the court system non-stop since September 2008,” when Denham was 13, the prosecutor said in January 2015 when Denham was sentenced to three years for violating the probation he received for smacking the face of a jail corrections officer in 2012.


That violation came with a charge of home invasion, a Class X felony, filed in August 2014 when Denham, who stands 5-feet-6 and weighs 135 pounds, burst into his ex-girlfriend’s home and beat two men inside. It was reduced to misdemeanor battery with credit for the 364 days he spent in custody after his arrest.


In Agee’s latest convictions, he was originally charged in March 2015 with throwing his girlfriend “around (her) residence” when she wouldn’t sleep with him on a couch and programmed her cellphone so he couldn’t use it.


He later rammed her parked vehicle with his Jeep before he fled. Police found and caught him a week later after a winding chase through the city, during which Agee was seen drinking from a liquor bottle, according to court records.


Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin