The man charged with the 2011 murder of 14-year-old Lyons Township student Kelli O’Laughlin was back in court Wednesday morning, and during the first hearing since a granted pro se motion allowed John L. Wilson to represent himself, signed for thousands of pages worth of documents a defendant's lawyer would typically hold.
Wilson, dressed in a yellow and green jumpsuit and surrounded by several armed guards, signed with cuffed hands four receipts acknowledging the state's turnover of about 2,600 pages of discovery documents to the defendant. The pages will be transported by law enforcement officers to the Pontiac, Ill., prison currently housing Wilson.
Wilson asked presiding judge John Hynes if the documents could be mailed to him personally in the Pontiac Correctional Center, and Hynes said that was not possible.
The documents were redacted so that personal information of witnesses, including addresses, dates of birth, email addresses and ZIP codes, was removed.
Though Wilson will represent himself, Cook County public defender David McMahon will serve as Wilson’s “stand-by counsel” during future proceedings, Hynes said.
Stand-by attorneys may only advise their clients on procedural matters—when to stand, sit, speak, etc.—and may not give advice, or draft or file motions, said Pat Reardon, first assistant public defender for Cook County.
Hynes, who previously urged Wilson accept the appointment of a public defender, denied Wednesday a motion made by Wilson to have McMahon replaced as stand-by counsel with another member of the public defender's office.
“Mr. McMahon has been in front of me many times,” the judge said. “He’s a very competent lawyer.”
Wilson’s next hearing will be on March 21. Hynes said Wednesday that at that hearing he will consider a request made by Wilson to have his hands freed from cuffs during court proceedings.
Wilson was charged with the Oct. 27, 2011, murder of Indian Head Park resident O'Laughlin. Authorities say Wilson stabbed the LT freshman after she inadvertently walked in on him burglarizing her house.
Wilson's pro se motion was granted by Hynes during a Dec. 19 hearing.
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