Appearing in Randolph County court last Friday for a case management conference, the defense counsel for Jason Michael Stoker announced that they will not be ready in time for the anticipated trial in March.
The 34-year-old Stoker - who is facing two counts of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, reckless homicide and first-degree murder on an amended charge of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude in alleged connection to the Oct. 28 police chase that fatally injured Chester police officer and volunteer firefighter James Brockmeyer - has been incarcerated at Randolph County Jail on $750,000 bond.
"We have received a great deal of discovery (evidence) from the state"s attorney," said Stoker"s public defender, James W. Kelley. "We are going through that discovery and it will not allow us to be ready for trial in 120 days."
Kelley asked for, and was granted, a continuance in the case by Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Brown. Both Kelley and State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker are also awaiting the completion of the Illinois State Police"s accident reconstruction report of the night in question.
"We do not have, nor anticipate having the accident reconstruction report (in time for a March trial)," Kelley said. "Which is essential for us."
Kelley also noted that he does not have a date as to when the report would be available.
Brown brought up Walker"s preliminary hearing request for a special jury selection session in February to comply with the defense"s speedy trial demand - meaning the trial must commence within 120 days from when the defendant was brought into custody.
Stoker was arrested in St. Louis on Nov. 1 by U.S. Marshals deputies after a four-day manhunt. That would have put the deadline at March 1 to start trial proceedings.
"We will not be ready to go to trial in March," Kelley said.
Brown noted there are four jury sessions previously scheduled for 2017 - with the upcoming dates of March 20, April 3 and July 10. The parties agreed to return for another status hearing on Friday, March 10, at 10 a.m. to see where things were.