Carbondale murder suspect freed on technicality will head back t - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Carbondale murder suspect freed on technicality will head back to trial

Elijah Lacy Elijah Lacy
Falon Taylor Falon Taylor

An Illinois Supreme Court decision filed Thursday will send a Carbondale man against whom murder charges were dismissed back to court.

Elijah Lacy was freed nearly two years ago when first degree murder charges were dismissed due to a violation of his right to a speedy trial.

A prosecutor says Lacy has a certain amount of time to file a petition for rehearing. Once that time frame passes, the Supreme Court will send its mandate to the appellate court, then the appellate court will send a mandate to the circuit court. Once that happens, the circuit court will again have jurisdiction and the case will be reinstated. 

Lacy was charged in 2009 in connection with the shooting death of 21-year-old Falon Taylor. Lacy was accused of breaking into a Carbondale home in January of 2007, and firing shots into the bedroom where Taylor was sleeping.

Lacy was scheduled to go to trial in June 2010, but one of the prosecution's witnesses, a Carbondale Police officer, was unavailable to testify at the set trial date due to his deployment to Afghanistan as a member of the National Guard. Prosecutors asked the judge for a continuance. The motion was granted over the objections of Lacy's defense attorney.

In July 2010, a different judge was assigned to the case. A week later, the defense filed a motion to dismiss the charges on the grounds that Lacy's right to a speedy trial had been violated.

The new judge determined July 19, 2010 was the 203 day of Lacy's pre-trial custody, and the maximum he should have been in custody before trial was 180 days. The defense's motion to dismiss was granted and Lacy walked free.

Prosecutors appealed the ruling, but an appellate court upheld the lower court's decision.

The Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion July 11, 2013 reversing rulings handed down by the circuit and appellate courts.

Justice Anne Burke delivered the judgment of the court. Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride, Justices Charles Freeman, Robert Thomas, and Lloyd Karmeier agreed that prosecutors were entitled to a 60-day continuance to obtain the witness' testimony and that did not constitute a violation of Lacy's right to a speedy trial. Justice Rita Garman was the only dissenting opinion.

As a result, Lacy will once again face first degree murder charges in Jackson County.

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