WOODSTOCK – A potential witness disclosed by prosecutors presents a conflict for attorneys representing Scott Peters, his public defenders told a judge Monday.
In court documents filed last week, prosecutors said that they could call William T. Leistritz as a witness in Peters' upcoming trial on attempted murder charges.
Peters is accused of shooting at and injuring McHenry County Sheriff's Deputies who responded to his Holiday Hills home. He's pleaded not guilty and a trial is set to begin on April 27.
Both Peters and Leistritz are in custody of the McHenry County Jail, and both were represented by the McHenry County Public Defender's Office in open cases.
The conflict arises if Leistritz were called to testify against Peters, Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos said. The public defenders couldn't simultaneously represent both clients, while cross examining one, he explained.
The Public Defender's Office on Monday was removed from Leistritz's pending disorderly conduct charge and a special public defender was appointed to represent him.
But McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather said there was no conflict for Peters' attorneys. Upon questions from the judge, Mourelatos said he didn't know specific facts of Leistritz's current case, and had not previously discussed it with Leistritz's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Grant Tucker.
It's unclear what information Leistritz could provide at trial. Assistant State's Attorney Michael Combs wouldn't discuss the details outside the courtroom. McHenry County Sheriff's officers met with Leistritz at the jail last week.
It's not uncommon for prosecutors to call jail inmates as witnesses in trials when the inmate reports a conversation he had with a defendant.
Combs told the judge that while the Public Defender's Office represents Leistritz currently and represented him in the past, Leistritz was never represented by Behof or Mourelatos.
"There is no conflict for the two in particular," Combs said. Combs also said he has "no intention" of calling Leistritz to testify.
According to the criminal complaint in Leistritz's case, Leistritz told Crystal Lake Police that there would be a murder committed, knowing that statement to be untrue. The Public Defender's Office has represented Leistritz on a number of cases in the past.
Peters case is also set for a hearing this week on whether or not uniformed officers will be allowed to watch the trial and whether Peters will be allowed to use a wheelchair.