Ottawa man facing gun charge to get psych exam

No trial setting unless Brito found fit

Anthony Brito is escorted into the courtroom on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at the La Salle County Governmental Complex in Ottawa.

A trial in a drive-by shooting outside the downtown Ottawa courthouse is on hold until attorneys are convinced the man charged is fit for trial.

Anthony Brito, 30, of Ottawa, appeared Thursday in La Salle County Circuit Court for a status hearing on multiple felony counts led by attempted murder. Brito is accused of firing into a vehicle – no one was struck with a bullet – to silence a witness in a still-pending drug case.

He could face up to 50 years in prison.

Brito still does not have new trial dates, however. Chicago defense attorney Charles Snowden requested a mental health evaluation for fitness to determine whether Brito has the faculties to assist Snowden at trial.

Snowden said there is no bona fide doubt of Brito’s fitness, but he has to be sure.

Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. agreed to what he termed “a look-see” and set an April 11 status hearing, by which time Brito will have been interviewed by Dr. Ryan Finkenbine.

Brito is accused of firing multiple gunshots Sept. 12 at La Salle and Main streets in Ottawa. Brito was arrested the next day after an armed standoff in the 1500 block of Scott Street in Ottawa.

Prosecutors said they later filed the attempted murder charge after learning that the targeted driver was a witness against Brito in a felony drug case.

Brito had pleaded guilty to delivering cocaine, but La Salle County State’s Attorney Joe Navarro said Brito’s plea offer was withdrawn, as the drive-by constituted a violation of the terms of Brito’s bond.