Alton man with violent criminal history sentenced to life in prison

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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A 55-year-old Alton man will spend the rest of his life in prison following a conviction for stabbing a cab driver, his third felony conviction.

According to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, Arthur Smallwood stabbed the driver on the evening of August 8, 2018 in Alton.

“This case is the culmination of a lifetime of violence by this defendant,” said Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons.

The driver, Jan-Eric Andersson, had picked up Smallwood from Bubby & Sissy’s Bar when the attack occurred. Smallwood stabbed Anderson 15 times in the back, shoulder, and neck before fleeing.

“Just vicious, absolutely vicious; completely unprovoked,” Gibbons said.

Andersson worked for Alton’s Best Cabs when the crime happened and somehow was able to drive himself to the hospital.

Smallwood was taken into custody the following afternoon.

A Madison County jury convicted Smallwood on July 19 of attempted first-degree murder, a Class X felony.

According to Illinois state law, the third conviction of a Class X felony triggers a mandatory life sentence.

Gibbons said Smallwood was convicted of his first armed robbery in 1984 and spent less than 10 years in prison. And then in 1997, Smallwood beat a man in the head with a claw hammer, nearly killing him. For that, Gibbons said Smallwood received a sentence that only amounted to five years in prison. Both were Class X felonies.

All three crimes happened in Madison County. Gibbons said Smallwood should have received longer sentences.

"There were real failures here and it's the community and specifically, in this case, the victim that suffered," Gibbons said.

Gibbons said that Smallwood does have mental health issues but that did not excuse his violent behavior.

Meanwhile, Andersson made a remarkable recovery and returned to his job driving cabs.

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