Twenty-four-year-old Rafael Kennedy made the request in Morgan County Court yesterday. He filed motions himself asking for a dismissal of the charges or set for a speedy trial. That means Kennedy must be tried within 120 days, if he doesn’t ask for any continuances.
Chris Reif is Morgan County state’s attorney.
“He had filed a couple of pro se motions that indicated he wanted to go to trial and wanted no continuances," says Reif. "Based on that we filed a motion to compel asking for discovery to be provided. And then he had a public defender appointed."
Elliot Turpin will represent Kennedy as a special public defender.
Kennedy was serving a 30-prison term for his role in the murder of Earl Capone Jackson during a 2007 robbery in Jacksonville.
According to the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court, Kennedy appealed the conviction, arguing he was not properly admonished before his bench trial as to the minimum and maximum sentence - specifically, the mandatory nature of sentencing enhancements when a firearm was involved.
“And the irony is here that [the appellate court] was arguing almost that the proper sentence would have had a 25-year add-on which would make it a minimum 45 years," says Reif. "In this case, the judge did not add that sentence on and sentenced him to 30 years...So, in essence even though he won the appeal and the right to a new trial, if convicted, he now faces a minimum of 45 years. If the judge goes back to his original belief that it's a 30-year sentence, he would be facing a 55-year sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections."
Kennedy was arrested with co-defendant Julius Washington stemming from the shooting death of Jackson. Washington struggled with Jackson during the robbery, pulled a gun and a shot was fired. Kennedy also became involved with the struggle and another shot was fired. Washington was given a 25-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2009.
Kennedy is due to appear in court again March 6th.