The attorney for a Steger man convicted of killing his girlfriend’s son in a drunk driving accident said his client deserves a new trial because the state withheld evidence that could have been valuable.
Jeff Tomczak claimed Wednesday that like all inmates at the Will County Adult detention facility, all of Cecil Conner’s visits and phone calls were recorded and saved. However, none of that material was turned over to the defense before or during the trial.
"Any statement of the defendant is required to be turned over to the in discovery." Tomczak said. "There are thousands and thousands of hours of statements that were never turned over by the state."
Prosecutors plan to challenge the motions for a new trial and additional evidence.
"We’ve got a guilty verdict in this case and we are prepared to go forward with sentencing," said Charles Pelkie, spokesperson for the Will County States Attorney’s office. "We are not going to comment on the merits of the motion."
It took a Will County jury less than 10 hours to convict Cecil Conner in February of the drunk driving death of his girlfriend’s son, Michael Langford Junior.
As part of his sentencing hearing Wednesday in Joliet, he listened as Langford's natural father, Michael Langford Sr., submitted his victim impact statement.
He remembered the night the 5-year-old was killed after the boy's mother, Kathie LaFond, was arrested for driving on a suspended license and Conner was given her keys by a Chicago Heights police officer.
"Like my son that night, my world stopped spinning," he said. "I may one day forgive the defendant for what happened, but his thoughtless and severely careless actions make it extremely hard for me to do."
Judge Eward Burmilla will hear arguments on the new defense motions May 25.
Conner is facing a sentence of up to 14 years for two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol.
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