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Courthouse commotion outside hearing for accused killer

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Police were called to a commotion outside the Rock Island County courthouse after a Rock Island man accused of murder made his first appearance at a hearing Friday afternoon.

Family members of Sandra Tate became upset when they were not allowed inside the hearing for Jeremy Graves, told the room was too small and emotions running too high.

''They say we can't come in, only his family can come in. And he killed my sister, he crushed my sister. He ran my sister over three or four times with his car'', said a sobbing Sonja Tate.

Graves is accused of plowing into a group of people Wednesday night, and running over Tate, 43.

Police say Graves had come to a house at 921 15th Street in Rock Island, wanting to pick up his child. A dispute turned physical, and the fight spilled outside.

Tate was sleeping at the time, but went outside to help.

"She came outside to break up the altercation and she lost her life. You tell me that's not a superwoman. He broke every bone in her body'', said Brittany Johnson, Tate's oldest daughter.

Witnesses say Graves had threatened to kill people, then got into the car, and plowed into the crowd, running over Tate several times.

"After hitting her the first time, she would still be alive, he chose to kill her'', said Gwenette Robinson, Tate's cousin.

''And there were kids right there, in order for the kids not to die, she pushed them and she took the hit'', said Robinson.

Funeral services are tentatively set for Thursday. A fund to help pay for the funeral has been set up at area Wells Fargo Banks.

Graves is still in the Rock Island County Jail on $750,000 bond.