A Streator man accused of shooting at a police officer, missing him with the shot, said Friday he will represent himself at trial – only to say minutes later he might hire a lawyer.
Courtney M. Perkins, 20, appeared in La Salle County Circuit Court and asked Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. to let the public defender’s office withdraw from his case. Ryan admonished him thoroughly about the risks he incurs acting as his own lawyer (pro se, in legal parlance) and then let the PD’s office withdraw.
For now, Perkins remains set for trial Feb. 27 on four felonies led by attempted murder for allegedly firing at a drug agent – the officer was not struck or injured – during a buy-bust operation in Streator. The judge set a Feb. 16 status hearing, however, and Perkins signaled he would at least inquire about retaining private counsel.
Perkins’ sentencing range is complex, but he faces an effective life sentence if convicted of attempted murder and/or some combination of his other charges. These include a robbery conviction from Jackson County for which his probation could be revoked.
Perkins was charged Sept. 29 after a buy-bust operation at a Streator car wash. There, after cash and drugs were exchanged, an agent reported a shot was fired that appeared to sail over his head.
Perkins, according to open-court statements, acknowledged discharging a shot, though he initially told police he fired into the air.
One other person is charged in connection with the shooting. Alaina J. Cravatta, 26, of Streator, is charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, but is charged under the accountability theory, meaning she did not pull the trigger. She appeared Friday before a separate judge and left with a March 3 status hearing.