Judge wants both sides ready for O’Laughlin murder trial Sept. 2

The trial of the man who is accused of killing 14-year-old Kelli O’Laughlin is scheduled to start the day after Labor Day, almost three years after her murder.

“This is the 33rd court appearance,” Kelli’s father John O’Laughlin said Friday. “We’re glad we’re about to start this chapter, and hopefully finish it.”

Kelli’s parents, aunt and their friends were in the Bridgeview courthouse Aug. 1, as they have been at every court date except one, to find out if the judge would allow a witness the defense wants to testify.

Cook County Associate Judge John J. Hynes was not satisfied with the report the defense presented to justify calling a former Chicago police detective as an expert witness about crimes scenes in the upcoming trial of John Wilson, Jr.

Wilson is accused of fatally stabbing Kelli in her Indian Head Park home the afternoon of Oct. 27, 2011.

Previously, defense attorney Michelle Gonzalez said the witness, Michael Fleming, was a homicide detective for more than 30 years and was involved in the processing of more than 500 crime scenes.

But Gonzalez did not present the specific information the judge last week instructed her to bring, namely, a description of the detective’s experience and qualifications, what his testimony would be and on what he was basing his testimony.

Gonzalez presented one page that according to Hynes and Assistant State’s Attorney Guy Lisuzzo, said the witness would testify about the proper procedure at a crime scene and what evidence should be sought and preserved.

“That is woefully inadequate,” Hynes said.

Based on the information presented, Hynes said the witness would be barred from testifying.

However, the judge apparently left the door open to allow the testimony if Fleming comes to court with Wilson’s attorneys on Aug. 25 with the information ready. The judge said he would also go over anything else that needs to be discussed with the defense and the prosecution before the trial starts on Sept. 2.

“I expect everyone to be ready,” Hynes said.

The defense has not outlined a specific strategy, but did not file an affirmative defense, which is required if planning to argue not guilty by reason of insanity or self-defense.

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