Assistant state’s attorney says negotiations with Gholston in first-degree murder case will end Dec. 9

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Public defender John Citro, left, and Devere Gholston, right, walk out of a courtroom in the Adams County Courthouse in Quincy on Monday afternoon. Pushing in Gholston's chair in the middle is bailiff Chad Lightfoot. | David Adam

QUINCY — Judge Debra Wellborn hadn’t heard much lately about the Devere Gholston case, so she took it upon herself to schedule a status hearing for Monday afternoon in Adams County Circuit Court.

Gholston, 27, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of residential burglary and one count of robbery in the beating death of 67-year-old Robert Schmidt, who died Feb. 17 in his home at 3219 Gross Gables. Hayden Schmidt, 16, also faces three counts of first-degree murder for his connection with the same incident.

Gholston’s last appearance before Wellborn was on Oct. 4, when his case was set on the Jan. 9 jury docket. It had previously been set for the Nov. 7 jury docket, then moved to Oct. 11. However, Wellborn delayed the trial when she learned public defender Babette Brennan would be on leave for most of September.

“I’m aware that the matter has been placed on the January docket, but I have not received any information about pretrial motions or discovery requests,” Wellborn said. “Are there any pretrial motions we should be addressing, any discovery issues we need to be addressing? Are there any negotiations in this case that the court should be made aware of at this time?

“Not having a felony docket to get in (the courtroom) very often, I thought I ought to have at least a presence with Mr. Gholston.”

In response to Wellborn’s pretrial motions and negotiation questions, public defender John Citro replied, “None that the defense is aware of at this point.” Citro is serving as co-counsel with Brennan, who was not at Monday’s hearing.

When Wellborn asked again about negotiations in the case or if any deadlines needed to be set, assistant state’s attorney Josh Jones said an offer had been made to Gholston before the October hearing.

“I told Mr. Citro that offer can remain open until Dec. 9,” Jones said. “That’s when I’m sending out subpoenas on this case. Once we send out subpoenas on this case, I will try this case. There will not be a negotiation.”

Wellborn then set Dec. 9 for a status hearing on Jones’ offer and the possibility of the case going to trial. A pre-trial hearing is set for Dec. 19.

Hayden Schmidt allegedly struck Robert Schmidt in the head with a firearm. Gholston allegedly was in the vehicle that drove Hayden Schmidt to the house.

Gholston faces between 35 years and 75 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if a jury finds him guilty on any of the murder counts. He also faces two aggravated battery charges, both Class 3 felonies, in another case.

Gholston remains in the Adams County Jail on $10 million bond.

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