Danville man accused in attack at senior complex found fit to stand trial

Danville man accused in attack at senior complex found fit to stand trial

DANVILLE — An 88-year-old Tilton man said he's relieved that the case of Danville man accused of forcing his way into his apartment, robbing him and brutally attacking him nearly two years ago is moving forward.

Vermilion County Circuit Judge Tom O'Shaughnessy ruled Thursday that Tyren C. Wilson, 21, is mentally fit to stand trial on a string of charges stemming from an April 2016 incident at the Tilton Senior Complex during which John Golden, a Korean War veteran, was held hostage and beaten with a gun.

Wilson — who appeared agitated and argued with his court-appointed attorney, Rana Meents, as he did at his last court appearance in November — indicated he wanted different representation.

"She's not working in my favor," Wilson said, among other things, prompting O'Shaughnessy to tell him he would have to make a written motion in order for that to be considered.

Thursday's ruling comes more than eight months after the judge ruled that Wilson was unfit to stand trial based on evaluations by two court-appointed psychiatrists.

Wilson faces two counts of home invasion and one count of armed robbery with a firearm, Class X felonies.

He also faces one count of aggravated battery-great bodily harm to a person 60 or older and one count of possession of a firearm with a revoked FOID card.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Wilson could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

According to a sheriff's deputy's testimony at his preliminary hearing, Wilson went to the Coachlight Mobile Home Park in Tilton on the afternoon of April 15, 2016. While fleeing from police, he ran to the nearby Tilton Senior Complex, entered an elderly woman's apartment, put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her and took items from her home.

The deputy said when the woman escaped her apartment, Wilson broke through a wall into an adjacent apartment belonging to Golden. Wilson battered the man at least five times on three separate occasions and held him hostage until he finally surrendered to police.

A month after the incident, Golden told The News-Gazette that after he refused to hide him from police, his attacker repeatedly beat him in the head with a gun and threatened to kill him.

Golden was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he stayed for four days. He received 107 stitches and eight staples in his head, ears and the bridge of his nose. His ring finger was broken, and his face and shoulders were covered in bruises.

Dr. Lawrence Jeckel, a Champaign psychiatrist, was appointed to evaluate Wilson in February 2017, and Dr. Philip Pan, a Springfield psychiatrist, was appointed to evaluate him in June. Both said that Wilson claimed to have hallucinations and believed he was working with the government.

After O'Shaughnessy found him unfit to stand trial, Wilson — who had been in the county jail on a $1 million bond — was sent to McFarland Mental Health Center in Springfield.

At a fitness hearing in November, special prosecutor Tom Brown of the Illinois Attorney General's Office presented testimony from two professionals who worked at the mental-health facility.

Springfield psychiatrists Rachel Harlan Link and Linda Lanier both testified that they had a chance to observe and evaluate Wilson during his stay and found him mentally fit. Furthermore, both said they believed Wilson was exaggerating symptoms and malingering to avoid trial.

At that time, Meents asked the judge to have her client re-evaluated by Jeckel before making a ruling. She also presented a letter written by Wilson that included "conspiracy theories" about working with the government, which caused her to question his ability to cooperate with her to put on his defense.

O'Shaughnessy ordered Jeckel to re-evaluate Wilson, which the psychiatrist did in February.

On Thursday, Brown said that this time, Jeckel found him fit for trial.

Before the short hearing ended, O'Shaughnessy admonished Wilson for repeatedly trying to talk to people in the gallery, even after a sheriff's deputy told him to turn around.

Wilson, who has been in the county jail since his fitness hearing in November, is scheduled to be back in court April 30 for a pretrial hearing.

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