Trial dates remain on hold for two men accused of murder in La Salle County, and it looks increasingly unlikely either will stand trial by year’s end.
After previously refusing to come out of his cell, 29-year-old Michael Swift of Mokena appeared Thursday in La Salle County Circuit Court. He is alleged to have killed ex-girlfriend Grace Taylor inside her Ottawa apartment. His lawyer still is seeking mental health records and asked for a status hearing, set for Oct. 14.
Friday, murder suspect Donald Fredres, 37, of Sandwich appeared for a pre-trial hearing. He allegedly killed his former in-laws in Sheridan. The report from his mental health evaluation is pending, however, and his case was set over until Oct. 1.
The upshot for both is that trial by jury looks increasingly unlikely to happen by the end of the year. Even if both are found fit and/or sane, attorneys have a limited window to work around a series of federal holidays that all but preclude a jury trial.
Swift awaits trial on five felony counts led by first-degree murder. He would face 20-60 years in prison if convicted of stabbing Taylor to death in April.
Fredres faces automatic life in prison if convicted of the March 16 shooting deaths of his former in-laws Gregory S. Barnes Sr. and Brenda J. Barnes, both 62. He faces additional charges for allegedly firing into the door of ex-wife’s home, injuring her.