Pretrial hearing rescheduled for Dec. 8 in Mt. Morris murder case

Matthew Plote is charged with killing Melissa Lamesch and her unborn son

Matthew Plote is lead into the courtroom on Oct. 27 for hearing.

OREGON – A delay in receiving subpoena records has resulted in a new pretrial hearing date for a Malta man who is charged with killing a Mt. Morris woman and her unborn son in 2020 and then setting their home on fire to conceal the deaths.

Matthew T. Plote, 34, of Malta appeared in court Oct. 27 with his defense attorney, John R. Kopp of Geneva, in front of Judge John “Ben” Roe.

The hearing was rescheduled to Dec. 8 after Kopp said he had yet to receive records indicating subpoenas had been served regarding Verizon phone records and insurance information.

Plote is charged with killing Melissa Lamesch, 27, of Mt. Morris and her unborn son on Nov. 25, 2020, and then setting fire to her house to conceal their deaths.

Rachel Sitkiewicz, an EMT who served with Melissa Lamesch holds photos of Melissa and a footprint of Lamesch's unborn son after a recent court hearing.

Lamesch’s baby was due Nov. 27.

Plote faces four counts of first-degree murder, three of intentional homicide of an unborn child and one each of residential arson, aggravated domestic battery and concealment of a homicidal death.

In custody at the Ogle County Correctional Center since his March 8 arrest, Plote appeared in court wearing the standard orange jumpsuit and in handcuffs and leg irons. His family sat in one row of the courtroom’s public seating area while Lamesch’s family, friends and co-workers sat two rows behind them.

Melissa Lamesch was found about 4:30 p.m. after firefighters responded to 206 S. Hannah Ave. in Mt. Morris, where they encountered heavy smoke and blaring smoke detectors. She was found on the kitchen floor and pronounced dead at the scene, despite lifesaving measures.

She was a 2011 graduate of Oregon High School and an EMT at Trace Ambulance Service in Tinley Park.

Prosecutors have yet to offer a possible motive in the case, but have said Melissa Lamesch and Plote knew each other before the killings.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.