Evaluation of Clayton teen’s fitness to stand trial in Aug. 2023 first-degree murder case must wait for month


Wyond Bynum Jr., left, meets with attorney Victor Smith before his appearance Wednesday morning in Adams County Circuit Court. | David Adam

QUINCY — The evaluation of whether a Clayton teen is fit to stand trial in a first-degree murder trial must wait another month.

Wyond L. Bynum, Jr., 19, appeared with St. Louis-based attorney Victor Smith before Judge Holly Henze in Adams County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Bynum is facing three counts of first-degree murder in connection to the Aug. 14, 2023, shooting death of a Camp Point man.

Judge Robert Adrian ordered on Feb. 22 a mental fitness evaluation of Bynum to be completed by Dr. Frank Froman. Henze is in her first week of inheriting Adrian’s criminal felony docket after he was removed as a judge on Feb. 23 by the Illinois Courts Commission.

Smith started Wednesday’s status hearing by saying he had made a request for medical records, and “we’ve been having difficulty trying to retrieve those.” He asked for a 30-day continuance.

“I think they were wanting to obtain some medical records and or additional medical records to supplement and or to provide to the evaluator (Froman),” First Assistant State’s Attorney Todd Eyler said. “I think we have a report that has determined fitness, but I think they were wanting some additional records to be considered and to see if those records impacted the finding.”

Eyler told Henze he agreed with the continuance.

“I’m not going to stand up and throw a fit or argue too strenuously against a continuance. I would just ask that we’re continuing it for that purpose,” he said. “We mark it as a final (continuance) for that purpose, because we still need to set this for arraignment. We need to keep the matter moving forward.

“I understand what they’re wanting to do. Our office owes an obligation to this family to ask that this case continue to move forward.”

Another status hearing was set for July 17. Eyler said he hoped Bynum would be arraigned at that time unless “something different has been determined and provided to the court.”

An Adams County grand jury indicted Bynum on Sept. 7, 2023, on three counts of first-degree murder. One count says Bynum shot Jaycob K. Rowland with the intent to kill him. One count says Bynum shot Rowland with the intent to cause great bodily harm. The final count says Bynum shot Rowland “knowing that such acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm.”

All three counts are Class M felonies.

Bynum pled not guilty to the charges on Sept. 20. The sentencing range for his crimes normally would be between 20 to 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections if he were found guilty. However, because of a 25-year enhancement for using a firearm, Bynum could be sentenced to between 45 years and natural life in the DOC. Bynum also would have to serve 100 percent of any sentence that is not natural life.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Department reported the shooting took place between 12:30 and 12:40 a.m. on Aug. 14 in the street in front of a residence at 505 West Jefferson in Camp Point. Deputies arrested three men at first. They later released two men — friends of Rowland — who brought the body to the Adams County EMS station in Camp Point. The murder weapon was recovered in the West Jefferson residence.

Bynum remains lodged in the Adams County Jail.

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