New motion filed in case against Meredosia man allegedly connected to murder of Rushville man

By Blake Schnitker on July 11 at 7:17am

The 18-year old Meredosia man arrested in connection to the death of a Rushville man in May appeared in briefly in court yesterday.

Dustin Finlaw appeared for what was originally scheduled as a pre-trial meeting after previously waiving his rights to a preliminary hearing back on June 12. Yesterday’s hearing was a rather short one, as Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll filed a new motion, which in turn prompted Public Defender Tom Piper to request a continuance, citing the fact that he and his client, Finlaw, would need time to review said motion.

The motion filed by State’s Attorney Noll pertains to specific evidence, and the potential recovery of DNA evidence on certain items uncovered during the course of the investigation into the stabbing death of 43-year old Robert Utter, a Rushville man whose body was discovered dead in an SUV parked on Montgomery Street in Meredosia in late May.

Specifically, the language of the motion would permit the destruction of said evidence by Illinois State Police for the necessary completion of forensic testing. Items taken into evidence in the course of the homicide investigation include a Fitbit and a knife, both of which are in the process of being tested by the Illinois State Police Forensics Lab for traces of DNA. According to the motion, the state police lab has informed that State that it has recovered samples that could contain material which is suitable for DNA comparison. However, due to the size of the samples, it will be necessary to completely consume, or destroy, the items found in evidence in order to complete the process of testing for possible DNA comparison.

Judge Chris Reif granted Piper’s request for a continuance in order for he and Finlaw to review details of the motion. State’s Attorney Noll had no objection to Piper’s request. Judge Reif granted Attorney Piper one week to review the motion with the defendant, and set Finlaw’s next motion hearing for next Tuesday, July 17 at 1:30.

Aside from next week’s hearing, Finlaw’s next court date was set for August 8 at 9 a.m.