Potential jurors already have made up their minds in case, attorney says
The attorney for a teenager accused of throwing a patio block off an interstate overpass, causing the death of a woman, says his client can’t get a fair trial in Peoria County.
Dorian LaSaine, who represents Rakiem Campbell, filed a motion last week in Peoria County Circuit Court seeking a change of venue for his client, who is accused of killing Katrina Kelley on July 14 by throwing the patio block over a fence on the Broadway Street overpass onto the car she was riding in on Interstate 74 below.
The numerous newspaper stories as well as coverage by the city’s TV and radio stations has meant people in the area know about the case and are likely to have already formed an opinion, LaSaine said Tuesday.
"Then we have the added additional burden of the unfortunate tragic death of the Bradley student," the attorney said, referring to the Aug. 12 death of Bradley soccer player Sheridan "Danny" Dahlquist, who died after four of his friends set off Roman candles in his room. "People have been comparing the two cases and have formed their opinions."
LaSaine also filed motions asking for the state’s attorney’s office to hand over all medical records from Campbell’s juvenile probation file, which include some psychiatric reports. While not commenting directly on the request, LaSaine said he was exploring all possible defenses including whether Campbell, 15, was "not operating within the legal definition of sanity or (with) diminished capacity."
A hearing date for the motions has not yet been set.
A Peoria County grand jury indicted Campbell on Tuesday on two counts of arson and one count of burglary for allegedly setting two veehicles, a Dodge pickup and a Mercury Cougar, afire in early July.
He was indicted last week on aggravated battery charges for allegedly attacking a jogger July 10 in the West Bluff.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at (309) 686-3283 or email@example.com.