News - McHenry County

Attorney asks for funds to have woman accused of killing Algonquin couple evaluated

Assistant public defender wants to determine fitness of woman at time of alleged murder

An attorney representing a woman accused of stabbing to death an elderly couple in their Algonquin home in November 2020 asked for $7,500 in county funds to hire a private forensic psychiatrist to determine her fitness at the time of the offense.

Since being in custody, Arin M. Fox, 41, has been evaluated by mental health professionals and found mentally fit, unfit, then – after a couple of months at a mental health facility in Elgin – fit again.

Fox is charged with first-degree murder, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated battery and domestic battery, according to court documents in the McHenry County courthouse.

On June 9, McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt agreed with the most recent evaluation by a doctor from the Mathers Clinic who said although Fox suffers from mental illnesses including schizoaffective disorder and bipolar depression, she is fit to stand trial and participate in her defense.

However, at this hearing, Fox and her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ryan Ahern, told the judge she was not fit to stand trial. Fox told the judge herself that she was not taking one of her antipsychotic drugs.

At a hearing on July 29, Fox interrupted many times as Ahern argued his motion asking Judge James Cowlin for up to $7,500 in county funds to have her evaluated by a private forensic psychiatrist from Champaign.

At that hearing, Cowlin asked for more time to review the case because he had just recently taken over this and other cases that Wilbrandt presided over. Wilbrandt retired last month and Cowlin has since been reassigned to his courtroom and his cases.

On Thursday, Cowlin said he reviewed Fox’s case and agreed with prosecutors who are objecting to the defense’s motion asking for another evaluation.

Cowlin said though it is not “crucial” she have another evaluation, he has made his own observations of Fox’s behavior, and is leaning toward her due process.

“The court can’t ignore its own observations,” Cowlin said referring to the unsolicited statements, outbursts she was making in court July 29.

He said he is inclined to allow the additional opinion, but told Ahern he needs to file an amended motion showing a breakdown of how the $7,500 will be spent.

Fox will be back in court on Aug. 18, when Cowlin could rule.

Ahern has said Fox was not taking her medications, hearing voices and experiencing hallucinations at the time she stabbed Leonard J. Gilard, 73, six times and his wife, Noreen S. Gilard, 69, 16 times.

Ahern said Fox had been treated for mental health issues since 2002. While Ahern was making his case to the judge, Fox would speak randomly, saying such things as “liar” and that she wasn’t being cared for in jail and people were stealing from her.

More than once, Cowlin calmly asked Fox not to speak.

Assistant State’s Attorney Ashley Romito said Fox already had been evaluated by doctors from the Mathers Clinic. To ask for county funds for a private doctor to evaluate her again is “inappropriate,” Romito said.

In court Thursday Romito said an evaluation has been completed by Mathers Clinic yet the state has yet to see the report.

Fox is accused of stabbing the couple to death between Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, 2020, according to the indictment, and then leaving in their Buick to Douglas County, Colorado, where she was arrested Nov. 8, police said at the time.

Fox, who lived at the Gilards’ home with her boyfriend, the couples’ son, was extradited about three months later to McHenry County Jail.