OTTAWA — The alleged gunman in the Sandy Ford bridge shooting will submit to a court-ordered DNA test and provide additional prints so investigators can see if he’s a suspect in other crimes.
Richard M. Felton, 28, of 163 S. Mayfield St., Chicago (also listed in Tonica) appeared in court Thursday for a hearing on the prosecutor’s motion to require additional personal testing.
La Salle County prosecutors want Felton to submit to a buccal swab (i.e., collect a DNA sample from his saliva) and then to palm prints to supplement his existing fingerprint samples. Felton’s lawyer, who was not personally present during Thursday’s hearing, consented to the motion, which is routinely filed in violent felony cases.
Next, Felton will stand trial for allegedly shooting 28-year-old Jeremy Wade of Grand Ridge in an Aug. 18 altercation near Leonore. Wade sustained a gunshot to the face and then fell about 40 feet from the Sandy Ford bridge in a mostly-dry leg of the Vermilion River.
Prosecutors revealed Thursday that Wade continues to receive medical treatment for his injuries but was long ago discharged from a Peoria medical center.
Left unclear, however, is whether Felton will stand trial as scheduled on Dec. 2 — or how many of his four felony counts will be brought before a jury at that time.
For now, the December trial is a go and will address all pending charges, including attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm from the Aug. 18 shooting. Recently, however, prosecutors tacked on separate charges of home invasion and residential burglary from a break-in reported on Aug. 9.
In the latter case, Felton is alleged to have entered the home of a 92-year-old Ottawa woman, bound her in her bed and then ransacked her home. The elderly woman was unharmed.
That the crimes happened nine days apart gives Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia the option of splitting the shooting and burglary charges into two trials, in which case the shooting charges would presumably go first.
Felton faces 21 years to life if convicted of attempted murder, but his remaining charges also are non-probationable and carry lengthy prison sentences in their own right.
Felton remains held on $3 million bond. He will next appear Nov. 15 for a hearing on any pre-trial motions.
Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or email@example.com.