Three Different Morgan County Cases On Hold As Defendants Seek Mental Fitness – WLDS

Morgan County Circuit Court currently has a number of defendants in the process of seeking mental health treatment or are currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

19-year old Tristan M. McNeely was arrested by Jacksonville Police this past October for predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age of 13. Defense Attorney Greg Sronce asked the court to have McNeely evaluated for mental fitness in December. The Department of Human Services found McNeely unfit for trial in April.

27-year old Devin C. Hall was arrested by Jacksonville Police in December after Hall was allegedly armed with a blade and attempted to steal cellphones from two occupants of a dorm room in Mundinger Hall on the Illinois College campus. In April, Morgan County Circuit Judge Chris Reif signed transmittal papers for Hall to be placed into DHS’s custody.

45-year old Trina R. Christian was arrested by Jacksonville Police in March 2022 for criminal trespass to a residence with a person present, and then arrested again in September 2022 for possession of methamphetamine charges. Christian pleaded guilty in May 2022 to criminal trespass to a residence in the March 2022 case and was placed on 2 years of adult probation. After court records say she violated pretrial conditions in her September 2022, she was incarcerated and eventually committed to the Illinois Department of Human Services in January after being found unfit for trial. On one occasion, court records indicate, she became uncooperative in the courtroom and was removed by bailiffs.

All three individuals’ cases were up for status in Morgan County Court on Tuesday afternoon. Morgan County State’s Attorney says all three cases are still in a holding pattern, however there are some differing reasons as to why: “Tristan McNeely [and Christian] are currently in custody with the Department of Human Services and receiving treatment. We received a report on McNeely’s status earlier this week, indicating that he is receiving treatment and is still unfit to stand trial but is making progress. Mr. Hall is kind of in a different category right now. While he has been remanded to the custody of the Departmen of Human Services, they have yet to transfer him from the Morgan County Jail. That’s mainly based on availability of beds at the Department of Human Services’ facilities. I did speak with a representative of the Department of Human Services late last week and indicated they are currently working on trying to get the availability to have Mr. Hall transferred over.”

Noll says that it does seem like there are many more cases currently before the local court systems that are needing availability in DHS facilities as more and more defendants are being found unfit to stand trial for various mental health reasons. Noll believes that demand is putting a crunch on DHS, despite their diligent efforts.

McNeely’s case has been set over for a second status in September, while Hall will return to the court for a status and an updated report from DHS on August 22nd. Christian’s case is next due back before the court on August 1st.

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