Defense team receives medical records in murder case; next status hearing for Plote is June 1

Melissa Lamesch was killed Nov. 25, 2020, two days before her unborn son’s due date

Matthew T. Plote is escorted into an Ogle County courtroom for a hearing on Thursday, May 4, 2023.

OREGON – Defense attorneys for a Malta man charged with killing a Mt. Morris woman and her unborn son in November 2020, have received copies of her medical records after asking for them for six months.

Liam Dixon, a defense attorney for Matthew T. Plote, 35, received the medical records of Melissa Lamesch, 27, of Mt. Morris, from DuPage Medical Group after Ogle County Judge John “Ben” Roe reviewed the records in his chambers.

Plote is charged with killing Lamesch and her unborn son on Nov. 25, 2020, and then setting fire to her house to conceal their deaths. Lamesch’s baby was due Nov. 27, 2020.

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 April, Dixon said efforts to secure Lamesch’s medical records from DuPage Medical Group through subpoenas and a court order had been unsuccessful since attempts first had been made in November 2022.

At an April hearing, Dixon asked Roe to hold the medical group in contempt until they provide the records.

On May 4, a representative of the medical group appeared via a video conference as the records were given to the defense.

“We did receive the documents as requested,” Roe said. “The court did an in-camera view. To be consistent with confidentiality, we will be turning these over to Mr. Dixon.”

Through a protective order, the records will only be released to one expert, Roe said.

Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock said the prosecution will also have an opportunity to view the records.

How much, if any, of the records can be used in the trial phase is yet to be determined.

Roe set the next the next status hearing for June 1 at 1:30 p.m.

Plote has been held in the Ogle County Correctional Center since his March 9, 2022, arrest. His bail is set at $10 million. He appeared in court wearing the standard orange jumpsuit and in handcuffs and leg irons. Several of his family members sat in one row of the courtroom’s public seating area. Lamesch’s family sat two rows behind them.

Lamesch was found about 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 25, 2020, after firefighters responded to 206 S. Hannah Ave., 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.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.