Bugs lead to courtroom cleaning

Bugs lead to courtroom cleaning

URBANA — A Champaign County courtroom was professionally treated by an exterminator Wednesday morning after a defendant who was visibly infested with an unknown insect had been in it the day before.

Champaign County sheriff's Lt. Tony Shaw said an older man and his sister were asked to step out of a crowded courtroom at the downtown Urbana courthouse Tuesday afternoon after a person sitting behind them noticed something crawling on them.

"Someone seated behind them noticed bugs ... made an audible noise and then the immediate area around them vacated," Shaw said.

The disruption caught the attention of the court security officer, who, after determining what caused it, asked the couple to step outside the courtroom.

Shaw said the man and woman were very cooperative as the officer, who could also see the bugs, escorted them out and spoke with them.

"We don't know what type of bugs. No one who could determine that actually saw the bugs," he said.

Judge Adam Dill kept his public defender pretrial call, during which dozens of cases are called individually for a status update, going while the officer handled the situation. The man's case was moved to the top of the list, he was given a new court date, then left, Shaw said.

The area of courtroom L on the first floor where he had been sitting was cordoned off for the rest of the call, Shaw said.

Dill's courtroom is one of the three larger courtrooms of the 11 in the courthouse. Being traffic court, it gets the highest volume of people in and out.

Shaw called the episode an "uncommon occurrence."

"We have people from all walks of life who enter the courtroom and it is a public building. We try to be respectful to everybody," he said. "Unfortunately, other people were in the area" who reacted negatively to the situation.

Shaw said the courtroom was fumigated by a licensed pest controller early Wednesday and Dill resumed his regular schedule.

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