Marseilles man charged with murder pleads not guilty, to undergo mental health exam

Aug. 26 trial looks doubtful with mental health exam pending

Logan M. Petre

A Marseilles man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he strangled his father. Logan Petre is set for trial Aug. 26, but that date may be ambitious.

Petre, 21, would face 20 to 60 years in prison, with no possibility of probation, if convicted of first-degree murder in La Salle County Circuit Court. He allegedly strangled Leo Petre in the family home on Father’s Day weekend. Logan Petre could face additional time if also convicted of a pending home invasion charge.

Since the enactment of the SAFE-T Act, suspects in custody have the right to a speedy trial within 90 days. Mindful of the clock, Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia set a final pretrial conference for Aug. 22 and scheduled a hearing on any motions for Aug. 15.

But right after the trial setting was issued, Logan Petre’s lawyer announced a motion seeking a mental health examination. Public Defender Ryan Hamer said he wants Logan Petre evaluated for fitness (that is, whether he has the faculties to assist his lawyer at trial) and whether he was sane at the time of Leo’s death.

Hamer told the judge that there is no bona fide doubt as to fitness and sanity; Logan Petre’s evaluation is more precautionary.

Nevertheless, the evaluation reduces the odds that Logan Petre will be ready for trial next month. Few murder cases proceed at their first trial setting.

Logan Petre will remain in the La Salle County Jail. Raccuglia ordered him detained last month after learning preliminary facts from the investigation – Logan Petre reportedly gave an incriminating statement to authorities – and he was out on cash bond at the time Leo Petre was found beaten and dead from an extended chokehold.

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