Crime & Courts

McHenry man vows eventual trial

WOODSTOCK – In a wheelchair being pushed down the courthouse hallways by his attorney, a man accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill his son vowed to recover from lung cancer to stand trial.

“As soon as I’m able, we’re going to go [to trial],” William G. Gersch said. “I’m not running from this at all.”

In March 2007, FBI agents and McHenry County sheriff’s deputies arrested Gersch, 63, of McHenry, at a Janesville, Wis., restaurant.

It was there that Gersch allegedly met an undercover agent, whom police said Gersch thought was a hit man, to discuss the murder plot. Police said he gave “Eddie” $2,500 and agreed to pay another $2,500 after the murder.

Gersch ordered the killing, police said, because he blamed his son for Gersch’s own failed marriage and for preventing him from seeing his grandchildren.

Gersch, who faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted, posted $10,000 bail and was released shortly after his arrest.

He said Monday that there was a lot more to the case and that many allegations against him were contorted.

Prosecutors offered him a plea deal, Gersch said, but he refused to take it “because I would be admitting to something that I didn’t do.”

“I could have been all done with all of this,” he said.

On Friday, Judge Charles P. Weech allowed Gersch’s attorney, Matthew Haiduk, a continuance until March 25, at which time they must present doctors’ notes from Gersch’s general practitioner, cardiologist and oncologist.

Otherwise, Weech said he would have to appoint a doctor – at the county’s expense – to evaluate Gersch.

Although Gersch said he was “ready to go,” Weech said he did not believe Gersch has the ability to assist Haiduk on a day-to-day basis. In court, Gersch was able to slowly approach the bench, but he used a wheelchair to leave the courthouse. He said he had fallen earlier in the day.

Weech said he understands that prosecutors want to get the case done, but he has to balance Gersch’s rights, as well.

“You deserve to have a fair trial,” he told Gersch.

Outside court, Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs, who is chief of the criminal division, expressed frustration.

“I’ve asked numerous times to try the case,” he said.

The same day that his father was arrested for the alleged plot to kill him, William J. Gersch, 41, was arrested on unrelated drug charges. He pleaded guilty in 2010 and was sentenced to two years in prison.

At the time of the arrests, the Gersches were neighbors. The elder Gersch said they still are today, but they don’t speak to each other.

“Why would we?” he said.

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