Mt. Vernon Register-News

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May 16, 2014

Murder cases delayed

MT. VERNON — Two high profile murder cases in Jefferson County have been further delayed.

The State filed a motion earlier this week asking the Fifth District Court of Appeals to reconsider a recent decision by Judge David Overstreet.

The judge ruled that a police statement made by murder suspect Mark A. Taylor is not admissible in court. Taylor and three other men are charged with first-degree murder in the May 2011 shooting death of Mt. Vernon cab driver Charles Ellis.

The motion, called a certificate of impairment, was filed Tuesday by State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman. The motion asks the Appellate Court to reconsider Overstreet’s ruling.

Taylor had been scheduled for a jury trial on June 24, and since the Appellate Court has no time line to respond to the State’s motion, it appears that date will be vacated.

Hoffman and Assistant State’s Attorney Darrin Rice have indicated the delay in the Taylor case likely will mean co-defendant Damondros James will be the first suspect in the case to go to trial. Taylor, James and Demandre Black are awaiting trial. Christopher Wells previously entered an open plea of guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Meanwhile, the trial date of May 27 for 47-year-old Samuel Kehrer has been vacated.

Kehrer has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 37-year-old Eric Houser.

A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on June 24.

The State asked for a continuance earlier this week since there is still outstanding discovery pertaining to evidence processed at the crime scene by Illinois State Police. The state indicated a DNA test of the defendant is also pending.

Kehrer’s attorney, James Gomric, did not object to the continuance and indicated the defense would not have its own expert observe the state’s testing.

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