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home : news : news   May 25, 2016

3/16/2013 6:00:00 AM
Ottawa murder suspect now third in line for trial

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

OTTAWA — An Ottawa woman will stand trial for murder on June 24 — after she tries in mid-May to get moved from segregation at La Salle County Jail.
Jamie Lomeli, 33, of Ottawa appeared Friday and agreed to move her trial for first-degree murder to June 24. She had been previously scheduled for trial a week from Monday. She faces 20-60 years if convicted of beating Darrio Hunter to death in 2011 during a staged robbery at her west-side Ottawa home.
Lomeli’s continuance was not unexpected. Prosecutors had previously indicated they intend to first try Jamie’s brother, 27-year-old Luis Lomeli of Sheridan, and a third suspect, 30-year-old Jason L. Ward of Ottawa, on the same charges. Friday’s continuance now ensures the men will stand trial first.
The postponement also gives Jamie time to address a seemingly more pressing concern: Getting moved into general population in La Salle County Jail.
The five suspects charged in Hunter’s death — two more are cooperating witnesses for the state — all have been confined separately and brought in and out of Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia’s court under tight security.
La Salle County authorities do not discuss security protocols; but given that some suspects have turned on one another jailers have gone to apparent lengths to avoid trouble.
The upshot for Jamie Lomeli is she’s effectively been placed in segregation. Friday, defense attorney Samuel Partida filed an oral motion asking to have Jamie moved to general population, saying, “She does consistently find herself isolated.”
Raccuglia said she has no authority to direct the jail to do anything, but encouraged Partida to correspond with jail authorities before a status hearing on May 17. Raccuglia could address pre-trial motions at that time.

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