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Lewis case shows insanity defense requires time and patience p2

We are continuing our discussion about a Will County man, Mark L. Lewis, who is charged with killing his sister. According to authorities, in 2011, Lewis beat his sister to death after an argument over money she said was missing from their mother's bank account. In 2013, the court found him mentally unfit to stand trial. In September, he will go back to court for the next step in his insanity defense.

As we said in our July 31 post, the discharge hearing could end the case. The court may rule that Lewis is either not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity. Either decision would officially acquit Lewis, but the former would result in his release while the latter would place him again in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The court may decide not acquit him, though, if it is convinced that Lewis' mental health has been or can be restored. Procedurally, this is would be a finding of "not not guilty." DHS will weigh in here with its opinion about Lewis' condition. If it looks as if Lewis will recover, the judge has the option of ordering the defendant to continue treatment until the trial. If not, he may be released or he could be civilly committed.

The prosecution will reportedly contest the insanity defense and urge the court not to acquit. The State's Attorney's office is prepared to wait until Lewis is competent in order to move forward with the trial. At this point, no one is speculating on whether the defendant or the prosecutor will prevail.

One last note about this case: Lewis is charged with four counts of murder and one count each of home invasion and burglary. While there was just one victim, Illinois law allows the prosecutor to file charges based on different theories of the crime, namely that

  • Lewis either intended to kill or to do great bodily harm to his sister
  • Lewis knew that his actions would cause her death
  • Lewis knew that his actions created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm or
  • Lewis was attempting or committing a forcible felony other than second degree murder.

In this case, the applicable felonies would presumably be burglary and residential burglary (home invasion).

Sources:

Chicago Tribune, "Sanity ruling due in 2011 killing of Naperville woman," Bill Bird, July 28, 2015

"Policies and procedures of the Illinois criminal justice system," Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, August 2012 

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