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Request for special prosecutor denied in Bushnell murder case

The McDonough County Courthouse in downtown Macomb.
Rich Egger
The McDonough County Courthouse in downtown Macomb.

A judge denied a motion to assign a special prosecutor for the trial of one of two teens charged in a Bushnell murder case.

The case involves Nicholas Lafary, who turned 18 on Nov. 6. He’s one of two teens accused of killing Travis Purden, 43, whose body was found in his home in early June.

Defense attorney Andrew Stuckart argued for the special prosecutor, saying that assistant state’s attorney Susan Maxwell was present during the investigation of the murder scene and during the autopsy. He said Maxwell could be called as a witness, and that would be a conflict of interest.

Assistant state’s attorney Scott Terry called the argument ridiculous. He said Maxwell was not a key witness to the crime, and that Stuckart knows she’s not going to be called as a witness.

In denying the motion, Circuit Judge Nigel Graham ruled that Stuckart’s argument was based on speculation. He also said prosecutors routinely consult with investigators, and there was no conflict of interest.

A pretrial hearing was scheduled for early next year.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.