A suspect in two 2008 murders is fit to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.|
Dr. Kirk Witherspoon testified Wednesday afternoon that Elijah Reid, 31, is capable of understanding and assisting in his trial.
Mr. Reid is scheduled to go to trial in January for the April 2008 murders of Jermaine O. Robinson, 30, and Ryan J. Ferry, 22, both of Moline. The men were found shot to death in a car in Rock Island in what police say may have been a drug deal gone bad.
Dr. Witherspoon and Dr. David McEchron have testified previously that Mr. Reid's IQ is low at about 65. But Dr. Witherspoon told Judge Walter Braud Wednesday that he believes Mr. Reid understands what goes on in a trial.
"I think he's fine," Dr. Witherspoon said. "I recommend to the court he be found fit."
Judge Braud agreed, clearing the way for Mr. Reid's trial next month.
Reliability hearings also were held for two potential witnesses who had shared a jail cell block with Mr. Reid. In a reliability hearing, a judge rules whether a potential witness can be relied on to testify truthfully.
Perry Slater and Leon Simpson both told Judge Braud of their conversations with Mr. Reid about the murders while incarcerated in the Rock Island County Jail.
Mr. Slater, now in a federal prison in Atlanta, said he was in jail with Mr. Reid in April 2008 shortly after Mr. Reid's arrest. Mr. Slater said Mr. Reid told him about getting into a car with the victims to complete a drug transaction, adding that Mr. Reid said he shot both men as money was being counted.
"He said he upped the pistol and popped them," Mr. Slater said.
Reliability hearings for two more witnesses are planned Thursday afternoon, with Judge Braud expected to rule on the reliability of all four witnesses after Thursday's proceedings.