The issue of who will represent Theddias LeSure of Montgomery in his trial for murder and arson was cleared up on Wednesday.
LeSure, 24, of the 2400 block of Riva Ridge Road, faces charges for allegedly setting the fire that killed his cousin Maurice Vaughn, 32, and his brother, Matthew LeSure, 26, in June 2009. He is charged with 28 counts of murder, attempted murder and arson, and originally faced the death penalty, until Gov. Pat Quinn abolished it in February.
When LeSure’s case was a death penalty trial, he was allowed a more extensive legal team, and had four lawyers representing him. On Wednesday, two of those attorneys—John Paul Carroll and Michelle Gonzalez—officially withdrew from the case.
Judge Timothy McCann appointed Aurora attorney Gary Johnson and Kendall County Public Defender Victoria Chuffo, both of whom have been working on LeSure’s defense team since January 2010. LeSure spoke briefly at Wednesday’s hearing—McCann asked if he understood that his original attorneys had withdrawn, and Johnson and Chuffo would now be representing him.
“Yes sir,” LeSure said.
In February, LeSure was declared unfit to stand trial, and sent to Chester Mental Health Center. Last month, the Illinois Department of Public Health declared him fit, and returned him to Kendall County. Johnson said he has some issues with the report, and has subpoenaed LeSure’s mental health records from Chester.
Johnson said his own experts will review the records, and the state’s fitness evaluation. A new court date was set for Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.
Fitness to stand trial is decided on two criteria: the defendant must understand what is happening in court, and be able to assist in his own defense. Fitness is a separate legal question from insanity; insanity addresses the defendant's mental state at the time of the incident.
LeSure is accused of setting the fire at his own home that killed his cousin, Maurice Vaughn, 32, and his brother, Matthew LeSure, 26. Prosecutors said LeSure filled a bucket with gasoline and doused Vaughn, who was asleep on the floor of the home they shared.
LeSure allegedly then lit a match, tossed it at Vaughn, then left the house and watched it burn. Vaughn was killed in the blaze, and Matthew LeSure, who was asleep in an upstairs room, died of injuries sustained in the fire. Two other family members were injured as they attempted to escape the burning house, according to police reports.