LIVE BLOG: Judge finds McRae guilty but mentally ill at time of crimes

Originally Posted Online: Nov. 07, 2011, 10:50 am
Last Updated: Nov. 09, 2011, 1:32 pm
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By Bill Mayeroff,
A live-blog from courtroom 502 in the Rock Island County Justice Center today, Nov. 9, 2011.

12:29 p.m. Judge Braud finds Mr. McRae guilty of all three charges against him but was mentally ill at the time of the crimes.

11:55 a.m. Dr. Hillman is done on the stand. Closing arguments will start momentarily.

11:42 a.m. Judge Braud is back on the bench. Mr. Schultz is beginning his cross-examination of Dr. Hillman.

11:26 a.m. Dr. Hillman testified that he believes Mr. McRae "understood the criminality of his actions" because he allegedly ordered the Hadzikadunics not to call police and fled from police. Judge Braud has called a 10-minute recess.

11:21 a.m. Dr. Hillman said he believes that, while Mr. McRae is mentally ill, he could still understand that what he is accused of doing on April 22, 2010 was against the law.

10:53 a.m. Dr. Hillman said he was called by the Rock Island County state's attorney's office to examine Mr. McRae. He said he interviewed Mr. McRae for about three hours on Aug. 12, 2011.

10:44 a.m. Ms. Hennings calls Dr. William Hillman, a Chicago-based clinical psychologist.

10:42 a.m. Ms. Frye said Mr. McRae asked her to meet him in Milan and when she did, he got into her car and told her to drive and let him know if she saw police cars.

10:38 p.m. "He was acting weird. He wasn't acting like himself," Ms. Frye said of her step-brother.

10:36 a.m. Ms. Frye said Mr. McRae asked her for her cell phone the morning of April 22, 2010. She said he also talked with her about money.

10:34 a.m.  Ms. Hennings called Martha Frye - Mr. McRae's step-sister.

10:33 a.m. Officer Bowling said Mr. McRae's demeanor on April 23, 2010 (the day he was brought to Rock Island County from Henry County) was "very quiet." He has now left the stand.

10:30 a.m. Ms. Hennings called Rock Island County correctional officer Robert Bowling.

10:29 a.m. Ms. Bartholomew said on cross-examination that Mr. McRae was "shaky" and "agitated" when she saw him. She is now done on the stand.

10:26 a.m. Said Mr. McRae asked her for any credit cards or bank cards on the morning of April 22, 2010. She said he also asked her about other ways she could get him some money. "He just said he needed the money," she said.

10:24 a.m. Ms. Hennings calls Sarah Bartholomew, who has children with Mr. McRae's brother.

10:22 a.m. Mr. Schultz is back in the courtroom. Mr. McRae is being brought out by a deputy.

10:13 a.m. Deputy told Mr. Schultz that Mr. McRae wants to see him privately. Mr. Schultz has stepped out of the courtroom.

10:12 a.m. A deputy just went to get Mr. McRae from a holding cell.

9:48 a.m. Ms. Hennings asked for a recess. Trial will resume shortly after 10 a.m.

9:44 a.m. Ms. Hennings has finished her cross-examination of Dr. Witherspoon. Judge Braud is asking him a couple questions now.

9:29 a.m. Dr. Witherspoon said that based on his interviews with the defendant, Mr. McRae was likely "quite psychotic" when he allegedly broke into the Hadzikadunics' home.

9:12 a.m. Dr. Witherspoon said his opinion is that Mr. McRae is not responsible for his actions because they were the result of a mental disease or defect. Ms. Hennings has started her cross-examination.

9:07 a.m. Dr. Witherspoon said Mr. McRae had an irrational fear of police trying to kill him.

9:03 a.m. Dr. Witherspoon is describing his interviews with Mr. McRae after he was arrested.

8:53 a.m. Dr. Witherspoon said he interviewed Mr. McRae and made a recommendation that he not be found legally sane at the time of the criminal act.

8:48 a.m. Judge Braud declared Dr. Witherspoon an expert in clinical psychology and that he has the expertise to offer an opinon on whether someone is sane or insane at the time of a criminal act.

8:46 a.m. Dr. Witherspoon is describing his training in clinical psychology.

8:42 a.m. First witness for defense: Clinical psychologist Dr. Kirk Witherspoon.

8:41 a.m. Lawyers are back in the courtroom, Judge Braud is on the bench.

8:37 a.m. Ms. Hennings has rested her case. Judge Braud wants to talk to the attorneys in his chambers, so they've all stepped out. Mr. McRae remains at the defense table.

8:34 a.m. Mr. McRae is in the courtroom seated next to Mr. Schultz. Judge Braud on the bench. Ms. Hennings has stepped out for a minute. Things will start when she gets back.

8:26 a.m. Cynthia Hennings is in the courtroom. Herb Schultz is talking to Charles McRae. Moline police Detective Michael Griffin is sitting next to Ms. Hennings, as he's done every day so far.

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011

2:32 p.m. Trial is done for the day. It will resume at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

2:25 p.m. Ms. Hennings read stipulations that a Henry County sheriff's deputy found a knife and the Hadzikadunics' car keys on Mr. McRae when they arrested him.

2:20 p.m. Ms. Hennings is about to read some stipulations.

2:19 p.m. Ms. Yeagle is done. Mr. Schultz had no cross-examination.

2:17 p.m. Ms. Yeagle said DNA found on a coffee cup taken into evidence from the Hadzikadunics' kitchen matched that of Mr. McRae.

2:03 p.m. Judge Braud declared Ms. Yeagle an expert in the field of DNA.

1:59 p.m. Next witness for the prosecution: Ann Yeagle, a forensic scientist at the Illinois State Police crime lab in Morton, Ill. Said she specializes in forensic biology and DNA analysis.

1:58 p.m. Mr. Carter is done on the stand.

1:49 p.m. Mr. Carter said he and other paramedics removed Taser barbs from Mr. McRae. He said Mr. McRae also had abrasions and cuts on his chest.

1:48 p.m. Mr. Carter said he was dispatched to the scene where Mr. McRae was stopped by police.

1:46 p.m. No cross examination from Mr. Schultz. Next witness is Douglas Carter, who works at Trinity hospitals. Mr. Carter was a Trinity paramedic on April 22, 2010 - the day Mr. McRae was arrested.

1:43 p.m. Deputy Terrill said Mr. McRae was slashing at himself with a sharp-edged instrument as law enforcement agents pursued him on foot through a field after the stolen car was stopped outside Orion.

1:39 p.m. Deputy Terrill was the first deputy to see the stolen Kia that Mr. McRae was reportedly driving. Said the driver "matched the physical description of Mr. McRae."

1:36 p.m. First witness of the afternoon is Dusty Terrill, a detective with the Mercer County Sheriff's Department.

1:34 p.m. Trial is about to resume. Deputy is bringing Mr. McRae into the courtroom from a holding cell.

12:30 p.m. Deputy Switzer is done. Trial is in recess until 1:30 p.m.

12:13 p.m. Deputy Switzer said at various times, the chase reached speeds well over 100 miles per hour.

12:05 p.m. Ms. Hennings said she is not playing the audio because it is virtually unintelligible.

12:01 p.m. Judge Braud is back on the bench. Ms. Hennings is about to show video of part of the chase allegedly involving Mr. McRae taken from Deputy Switzer's squad car.

11:59 a.m. Judge Braud has stepped out of the courtroom for a minute.

11:58 a.m. Deputy Switzer said Mr. McRae swerved and tried to hit his squad car in the area of 240th Street and 90th Avenue in Mercer County.

11:56 a.m. Now on the witness stand is Casey Switzer, a Mercer County sheriff's deputy.

11:51 a.m. Mr. Hadzikadunic is done on the stand.

11:37 a.m. Mr. Schultz is beginning his cross-examination.

11:36 a.m. Mr. Hadzikadunic said he never got his car back after it was stolen.

11:32 a.m. Mr. Hadzikadunic said he tried to tell Mr. McRae he and his wife spoke no English. "At one point in time, I told him, 'We don't speak English, we're not going to call the police. Just get in the car and go,'" Mr. Hadzikadunic said.

11:25 a.m. Mr. Hadzikadunic said he may have tried to kick Mr. McRae as Mr. McRae tried to force his way into the house.

11:24 a.m. Mr. Hadzikadunic said he was able to determine that Mr. McRae wanted car keys, even though he could not understand much of what Mr. McRae was saying.

11:09 a.m. Mr. Hadzikadunic said Mr. McRae forced his way into the house through a sliding glass door.

10:57 a.m. Mr. Hadzikadunic is also speaking through an interpreter.

10:55 a.m. Judge Braud just came back in and is seated on the bench. Ms. Hennings called Sakib Hadzikadunic, Ms. Hadzikadunic's husband, to the witness stand.

10:45 a.m. Mr. McRae was brought into the courtroom but was taken back into a holding cell to be given some medication.

10:23 a.m. Ms. Hadzikadunic is done testifying. Judge Braud calling for a 15 minute recess.

9:58 a.m. Ms. Hadzikadunic said she thought Mr. McRae was going to kidnap her.

9:41 a.m. "He was going toward my husband with a knife. He was going 'No police, no police, no police.'" - Ms. Hadzikadunic, referring to Mr. McRae.

9:37 a.m. Ms. Hadzikadunic identified Mr. McRae as the man who came into her house and was threatening her and her husband with a knife. She said his hair is different than it was in April of 2010.

9:29 a.m. Ms. Hadzikadunic said she will "never forget" April 22, 2010 -- the day Mr. McRae allegedly broke into her house.

9:26 a.m. Ms. Hadzikadunic is speaking through an interpreter.

9:23 a.m. First witness today is Hana Hadzikadunic. Mr. McRae allegedly broke into the Moline house where she lives with her husband.

9:20 a.m. Judge Braud just came in. McRae was just brought in and is seated at the defense table. Mr. McRae's legs are shackled and he is wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit.

9:16 a.m. Trial still hasn't started. Ms. Hennings said she hopes it will start soon.

9:05 a.m. Mr. Schultz is back in the courtroom.

9:01 a.m. Herb Schultz is talking to Mr. McRae in a private room. A couple witnesses are seated in the courtroom, including the couple who Mr. McRae allegedly threatened with a knife and whose car he allegedly stole.

8:58 a.m. Herb Schultz just came in. A deputy in the courtroom told him that Mr. McRae wants to talk to him.

8:51 a.m. Moline police Detective Michael Griffin is here. He testified yesterday and is the lead investigator on the case. He's been sitting next to Cynthia Hennings since the start.

8:42 a.m. Courtroom is open. Cynthia Hennings just walked in and is getting set up.

Monday, Nov. 7, 2011

2:40 p.m. No more witnesses today. Trial is recessed until 9 a.m. tomorrow.

2:29 p.m. Detective Griffin said both victims identified Mr. McRae in a photo lineup as the man who stole their car and threatened them with a knife.

2:22 p.m. Mr. Nelson has finished. Ms. Hennings calling Moline police Detective Michael Griffin.

2:06 p.m. Mr. Nelson said the victims reported that Mr. McRae took a drink of water from a coffee mug in their kitchen. Mr. Nelson said he swabbed the cup for any evidence.

1:58 p.m. Mr. Nelson talking about how he collected evidence at the scene of the home invasion.

1:54 p.m. Second witness for the state is Tad Nelson, an Illinois State Police crime scene investigator.

1:50 p.m. Mr. Waltman is finished. He talked of interviewing the people from whom Mr. McRae allegedly stole the car. Mr. Schultz had no cross-examination questions.

1:42 p.m. First witness for state: Tim Waltman, retired from the Moline Police Department.

1:41 p.m. Mr. Schultz has waived an opening statement.

1:40 p.m. Ms. Hennings talking about how Mr. McRae cut himself with a knife after being caught in a cornfield outside Orion.

1:38 p.m. "He's pleading with them not to call police," Ms. Hennings said of Mr. McRae. "And then he takes off in their car."

1:35 p.m. "He's got these people at knifepoint," -- Cynthia Hennings, in her opening statement, talking about how Mr. McRae allegedly robbed a Moline couple in April of 2010.

1:30 p.m. Ms. Hennings is beginning her opening argument.

1:28 p.m. Mr. McRae is back in the courtroom and seated at the defense table.

1:24 p.m. Judge Braud just asked Mr. Schultz to talk to Mr. McRae to make sure he understands what is going on. Mr. McRae was previously found fit to stand trial.

1:22 p.m. Judge Braud just came in. Charles McRae just brought in from a holding cell. Mr. McRae is in a yellow jumpsuit.

1:16 p.m. Mr. McRae's attorney, Herb Schultz, just walked into the courtroom. He and Ms. Hennings immediately left to talk to Judge Braud in chambers.

12:54 p.m. Moline police Detective Michael Griffin just came into the courtroom carrying boxes and bags of evidence.

12:45 p.m. Courtroom is unlocked. Prosecutor Cynthia Hennings talking to retired Illinois State Police crime scene investigator Tom Merchie.


Charles McRae is on trial in Rock Island County Circuit Court for one count each of home invasion, armed robbery and possession of a stolen vehicle. Last week, he waived his right to a jury trial. His bench trial is being presided over by Judge Walter Braud.

Mr. McRae is accused of a two-day crime spree that reportedly started April 21, 2010. The following day, Mr. McRae was arrested after he reportedly led law enforcement agents on a high-speed chase that began in Mercer County and ended in a field outside Orion.
The trial will resume Wednesay at 8:30 a.m. Reporter Bill Mayeroff will be posting live updates from the trial here. He will also be posting updates on Twitter at!/bill_mayeroff.
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Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, Sept, 30, the 273rd day of 2014. There are 92 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: The ARGUS Boys are very anxious to attend the great Democratic mass meeting tomorrow and we shall therefore, print no paper on the day.
1889 — 125 years ago: H.J. Lowery resigned from his position as manager at the Harper House.
1914 — 100 years ago: Curtis & Simonson was the name of a new legal partnership formed by two younger members of the Rock Island County Bar. Hugh Cyrtis and Devore Simonson..
1939 — 75 years ago: Harry Grell, deputy county clerk was named county recorder to fill the vacancy caused by a resignation.
1964 — 50 years ago: A new world wide reader insurance service program offering around the clock accident protection for Argus subscribers and their families is announced today.
1989 — 25 years ago: Tomato plant and other sensitive greenery may have had a hard time surviving overnight as temperatures neared the freezing point.

(More History)