Mt. Vernon Register-News

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April 9, 2014

Kehrer advised again

MT. VERNON — A Mt. Vernon man in custody on murder charges had a second arraignment Tuesday after his attorney raised a health issue.

Sammy Kehrer, 47, of Mt. Vernon, was re-advised of the three counts of murder he faces in connection with the February stabbing death of Eric Houser, 37, of Mt. Vernon.

Kehrer’s attorney, James Gomric of Belleville, waived the formal reading of the charges, with the defendant pleading innocent to the charges.

Gomric told Judge Eric Dirnbeck that Kehrer was given some type of agent while in custody that may have influenced his ability to understand the charges during a court appearance on March 5.

Gomric apologized to the court, but indicated given the nature of the case, he wants to “err on the side of caution.”

Gomric said neither he or the state had knowledge of the medication given to Kehrer prior to arraignment.

Kehrer is no longer taking the medication, according to information presented to the court.

Dirnbeck advised Kehrer of the charges against him on March 5. He was also advised of the charges during a video court proceeding on Feb. 21 by Judge Tom Dinn, the court revealed.

Dirnbeck restated the possible penalty sentencing ranges if Kehrer is convicted — 20 to 60 years in prison followed by three years of mandatory supervised release. There is no possibility of probation or conditional discharge and the defendant could be fined up to $25,000 on each count.

During the March 5 hearing, Dirnbeck denied a motion by Gomric to have Kehrer’s $3 million bond reduced.

Also at the March hearing, Dirnbeck had allowed the defense to take hair and mouth swab samples from the defendant.

A new motion filed by the state last week to have the Illinois State Police crime lab analyze physical evidence taken from the scene will be ruled on by Dirnbeck at 1:30 p.m. April 30.

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