According to the Paxton Record, WATSEKA — Two handwriting experts are working independently to determine whether murder suspect Andrew M. Condon wrote a letter from jail to one of the prosecution’s witnesses, asking him to change his testimony.
Judge Gordon Lustfeldt entered an order in Iroquois County Circuit Court last week, appointing Warren Spencer to analyze the letter on behalf of the defense. Spencer will be paid a fee of up to $1,125, to be paid for by Iroquois County. Lustfeldt ordered that Spencer deliver his findings to the court in “a timely fashion.”
Meanwhile, State’s Attorney Jim Devine said Monday that he and Assistant State’s Attorney Alex O’Brien have hired their own independent handwriting expert.
“We’ve contacted the FBI to do an analysis of the handwriting on our behalf,” Devine said. “We’re still waiting on the results of that analysis.”
Condon, 35, of rural Ashkum, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the October 2012 fatal shooting of Jonathan D. Rubin, 27, of Danforth, at the Shell gas station in Gilman where Mr. Rubin worked.
Devine said in court last month that Condon wrote a letter from jail to one of the state’s witnesses, trying to persuade the witness to change his story. Condon has denied writing the letter.
Iroquois County will pay for the defense’s handwriting expert because Condon cannot afford to pay for one himself, according to court records. The county also will pay up to $5,000 for the defense to hire a video expert, who will compare the suspect seen on surveillance footage at the gas station to Condon.
Condon’s trial is set to begin on Feb. 2.