Crime & Courts

Woman charged in Algonquin double homicide found unfit to stand trial

Arin M. Fox will be transported to the Illinois Department of Human Services, where she will receive treatment at an inpatient facility

A 40-year-old woman who last year was charged with stabbing an elderly couple to death in their Algonquin home has been found mentally unfit to stand trial.

A psychological evaluation showed that Arin M. Fox, charged in the November 2020 deaths of 69-year-old Noreen S. Gilard and 73-year-old Leonard J. Gilard Jr., is experiencing mental health symptoms that have rendered her incapable of assisting with her own defense, records show.

Fox will be transported to the Illinois Department of Human Services, where she will receive treatment at an inpatient facility, according to an Oct. 20 court order.

In Illinois, charges can be reinstated against a person who is found unfit to stand trial if their condition is enough improved by a certain period of time.

“The parties stipulate that Dr. [Besty] Lohr would testify [Fox] may be restored to fitness within 60 days with inpatient psychiatric medication and psychoeducational services,” the Oct. 20 court order stated.

The finding is not the same as a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill.

Fox’s next court appearance originally wasn’t scheduled to take place until Nov. 3. A report summarizing her evaluation was completed on Oct. 11, however, and Fox’s public defender Ryan Ahern filed a motion to have the matter heard sooner.

Police arrested Fox in November 2020 in Douglas County, Colorado, where investigators have said she fled in the Gilards’ Buick after the double homicide. Fox was extradited in February back to the McHenry County Jail on charges of first-degree murder, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated battery and domestic battery.

According to charging documents, Fox is accused of killing the Gilards between Nov. 6 and 7 at their home in the 600 block of Red Coach Lane, Algonquin. Fox also lived at the residence.

Officers found the couple’s bodies during a well-being check, but by that time Fox already had fled in the Gilards’ Buick and arrived in Colorado, police have said.

She was receiving psychiatric treatment at least two months before her arrest, prosecutors said.

Convictions of first-degree murder in relation to the deaths of both Noreen and Leonard Gilard could result in a natural-life prison sentence.

On Wednesday, prosecutors and Fox’s public defender agreed that if forensic psychologist Betsy Lohr were called as a witness, she would testify that Fox has a long history of mental illness and “medication non-compliance,” according to the court order.

Fox, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is “noncompliant with medication” and experiencing “active psychosis,” according to the court order.

Lohr also would have testified that Fox hears voices that tell her what she is thinking, and that sometimes they are “annoying” and “rude,” records show.

During her time in the McHenry County Jail, Fox’s thinking has continued to be “delusional” and included beliefs that the “jail staff is trying to affect her mind through their actions,” according to Wednesday’s order.

Her treatment provider is expected to file a plan with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office and Fox’s attorneys within a month’s time.

That plan will include a diagnosis, a description of Fox’s treatment goals and the estimated time it could take to reach those goals, according to court documents.

Fox previously was arrested in October 2019 after her boyfriend, the Gilards’ son, called the police and reported that Fox threw a butcher’s knife at Leonard Gilard Jr., court records show. Fox had been using the knife to chop vegetables when she allegedly threw it in Gilard Jr.’s direction, McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally has said. The knife never struck Gilard Jr.

Fox, who formerly lived in Kentucky, was charged with a misdemeanor count of aggravated battery, but the case was dismissed in September.

Gilard Jr. never provided a written statement or communicated with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, despite multiple attempts by prosecutors, Kenneally said following Fox’s 2020 arrest.

Gilard Jr. also did not respond to multiple written notices of court dates and proceedings, Kenneally said.

Fox’s most recent conviction out of McHenry County was for a 2011 aggravated battery in which she was accused of hitting a jail corrections officer in the face, records show. She had been in custody on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and obstruction of justice.

Those charges were dismissed in 2012 when Fox accepted a plea deal in the aggravated battery case. As a condition of her sentence, Fox was required to receive mental health treatment.

Katie Smith

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.