Defense in Sycamore Wilson murders case doesn’t want to turn over witness list

Latest court filing in yearslong case shows Jonathan Hurst’s defense arguing that court order would reveal trial strategy

Jonathan Hurst (right) talks to his attorney Chip Criswell in Judge Marcy Buick’s courtroom at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore Monday, April 29, 2024 during a hearing on his case. Hurst is charged with murder in the August 2016 slayings of mother and son, Patricia A. Wilson, 85 and Robert J. Wilson, 64, of Sycamore.

SYCAMORE – The defense team for the former Chicago man accused of beating to death a Sycamore mother and son is objecting to a court order that they reveal who they plan to call as witnesses in a now-delayed double-murder trial.

In a June 13 court filing, defense attorney Chip Criswell of the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office objected to a judicial order that he turn over his defense cross-examination preparations, records show.

Criswell argued that doing so would unfairly unveil his defense strategy ahead of any trial.

“On May 7, 2024, this court ordered [the] defendant to file a more detailed motion including the names of witnesses and statements [the] defendant seeks to elicit,” Criswell wrote in the filing. “[The] defendant objects to having to provide this information. By asking [the] defendant to detail what questions he is going to ask which individual, the court has, in effect, ordered [the] defendant to hand over his plan for cross-examining [the] state’s witnesses.”

Jonathan Hurst’s double-murder trial was set to convene June 24, more than four years after his February 2020 arrest and almost eight years since Patricia A. Wilson, 85, and Robert J. Wilson, 64, were found bludgeoned to death inside their home at 16058 Old State Road on Aug. 15, 2016.

That trial date was struck earlier this month, however, after Criswell asked Circuit Court Judge Marcy Buick for more time to review thousands of pages of evidence. Prosecutors in response rebutted the defense, saying Hurst’s defense team had years to prepare.

No new date has been set, leaving loved ones of the slain Wilsons waiting indefinitely for a jury trial that’s been delayed before.

Both Wilsons died of blunt force head trauma, the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office ruled.

Hurst, 55, is charged with 12 counts of first-degree murder, home invasion, residential burglary, criminal trespass to a residence and unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle. If convicted, he faces a life sentence. He’s been held in the DeKalb County Jail without bond since his February 2020 arrest.

Hurst pleaded not guilty in March 2020 and previously denied ever being in Sycamore, although prosecutors allege that DNA evidence places him inside the Wilson home. Patricia Wilson’s stolen car was found in Chicago blocks from where Hurst used to live, according to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. And cellphone data allegedly places Hurst in the area the night of the killings, authorities have said.

Buick has not yet ruled on Criswell’s filing. Hurst is next scheduled to appear for a status hearing at 9:45 a.m. June 27.

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