Attorney wants teen’s murder trial moved

The attorney representing the teen charged with murdering a couple in their Loogootee home wants the youth’s trial to be moved to another county.
The request to relocate the trial for 16-year-old Clifford W. Baker is one of three motions filed at the end of January by Baker’s attorney, Monroe D. McWard of Taylorville.
McWard also filed a motion asking the court to appoint an adolescent psychiatrist, and a motion challenging the constitutionality of an Illinois law that allowed the prosecution to automatically transfer Baker from juvenile court to adult court.
Baker was scheduled to appear in court last Thursday, but that hearing was canceled because of bad weather. That hearing has been rescheduled for next Tuesday morning.
Baker, a 16-year-old Loogootee resident, is charged with first-degree murder and home invasion. Those charges allege that he fatally shot 60-year-old Mike Mahon and 53-year-old Deb Tish in their home in the early morning hours of Aug. 4 of last year, and that he also entered the home of Wayne and Randy Krajefska, and struck Randy Krajefska in the face while brandishing a knife.
The teen was taken into custody a short time after a Fayette County sheriff’s deputy discovered that Mahon and Tish had sustained fatal gunshot wounds.
In a motion filed on Jan. 28, McWard contends that Baker’s trial, which is set for April, should be moved out of Fayette County because of “uncharacteristically widespread and emotionally charged electronic and print media coverage” of his client’s case.
Because of “the publicity, its intensity and its duration, McWard said, Baker believes that “prospective jurors … will be unable to be fair (and) impartial.”
In asking for the appointment of an adolescent psychiatrist, McWard contends that Baker should be evaluated by such a specialist “for the purpose of evaluating the defendant for fitness, sanity defense, guilty but mentally ill, altered mental state including possible self-defense issues, diminished capacity, mental retardation and/or effects of a psychotropic drug on his mental state in August of 2010.”
The attorney argues that Baker is unable to pay for the use of an adolescent psychiatrist, and that the court should appoint such a specialist “due to his indigence.”
The court has appointed Dr. Frederick Klug to assist the defense, but McWard claims that Klug “does not maintain a specialized practice in adolescent psychiatry” and that “it would be inappropriate for Dr. Klug to continue his evaluations of (Baker) due to the defendant’s early stage mental development and age, 15, at the time of the alleged occurrence.”
In another motion, McWard claims that a state statute stipulates, “The definition of a delinquent minor… shall not apply to any minor who at the time of an offense was at least 15 years of age and who is charged with first-degree murder.”
He argues that the automatic transfer provision of the state’s juvenile court act violates federal and state due process “because it subjects a 15-year-old juvenile to automatic transfer from juvenile to adult court without a hearing.”
McWard claims that the automatic transfer provision is a violation “because it subjects a 15-year-old juvenile to sentencing as an adult with no consideration for their youthfulness or analysis of mental culpability.”

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