Defense says Quincy man facing three 2019 murder counts is unfit to stand trial, asks court for medical evaluation

Carlos Williams

Carlos Williams | Photo courtesy of Adams County Jail

QUINCY — A Quincy man facing three counts of murder has been hospitalized in Blessing Hospital since the week of May 15, and his attorney filed a proposed order in Adams County Circuit Court last week that says his client is unfit to stand trial because he is physically unable to effectively communicate.

Carlos Williams, 59, is accused of killing Orlando Smith, 20, by strangulation between May 27-30, 2019. Smith’s body was found May 30, 2019, in the 200 block of Koch’s Lane. Williams was arrested Nov. 19, 2019, when he appeared in court in an unrelated case.

Williams faces 20 years to life in prison if found guilty. He also is charged with possession of a firearm as a felon, a Class 3 felony.

Williams last appeared in Adams County Circuit Court on March 7. He is represented by Nick Rober and Mark Wykoff, Sr. Wykoff was appointed as co-counsel on Feb. 1 when he replaced Public Defender Vanessa Pratt, who withdrew from the case on Dec. 16, 2022. She accepted a job with Fourth District Appellate Court Justice Amy Lannerd to be one of three law clerks in her Quincy office.

The proposed order, filed by Wykoff on Friday, June 23, said counsel met with Williams on June 20 at Blessing Hospital.

“A defendant is unfit to stand trial when, because of a mental or physical condition, he or she is unable to understand the nature and purpose of the proceedings or assist in the defense,” the order read. “In determining a defendant’s fitness, courts are to consider, among other things, the defendant’s ability to observe, recollect and relate occurrences, especially those concerning the incidents alleged and to communicate with counsel.”

The order calls for an examination of Williams at Blessing Hospital. The examiner’s report should contain:

  • A diagnosis and an explanation as to when it was reached and the facts upon which is based;
  • A description of Williams’ mental or physical disability, if any, and its severity;
  • An opinion as to whether and to what extent the mental or physical disability impairs Williams’ ability to understand the nature and purpose of the proceedings;
  • An opinion as to the likelihood of Williams attaining fitness within one year if provided with a course of treatment (if the report indicates Williams is not fit to stand trial or to plead because of a disability).

A scheduling conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 11 before Judge Tad Brenner.

The case was set to go to trial on Nov. 7, 2022, before Vanessa Pratt withdrew as co-counsel. It also was set to go to trial on:

  • Jan. 10, 2022
  • Oct. 12, 2021
  • March 8, 2021
  • Dec. 7, 2020
  • June 8, 2020
  • March 9, 2020

Williams had been in the Adams County Jail for 42 months without receiving a trial before he was sent to Blessing Hospital. He has a $5 million bond.

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