Acree Murder Trial Could See Trial Date Set at May Hearing

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 1, 2023 at 8:43am

A two-and-a-half-year-old Morgan County murder case is slowly inching closer to trial. 34-year-old Kenneth J. Acree appeared in Morgan County Court for a status hearing yesterday afternoon.

Acree faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of concealment of a homicidal death in the shooting death of 32-year-old Robert Schofield in October 2020.

Seventh Circuit Court Judge Ryan Cadagin granted a request for a 60-day continuance by Acree’s defense attorney W. Scott Hanken yesterday. Hanken told the court he had just received the last of the discovery evidence from the state.

Assistant Morgan County State’s Attorney Chad Turner says they are also still waiting for discovery from the defense. However, he thinks they are getting much closer to setting a trial date.

Today was a pre-trial conference and we have been waiting on outstanding search warrants for material from technology-related sources and those are all in now. From our perspective, we’ve turned over everything we need to.

The defendant has not yet provided any discovery, but that shouldn’t cause much of a delay and I think we’re getting to the point where we can probably pick a realistic trial date for this case.”

Acree will next appear in court on May 19th, at 2:00 pm. Turner says the State’s Attorney’s Office believes they will be able to set a firm jury trial date at that time.

Acree remains held at the Morgan County Jail on a $1.5 million dollar bond. His council has filed a self-defense claim in the case. Acree is also accused of allegedly trying to hide Schofield’s body by burying it in a field in Nortonville.

If convicted of the first-degree murder charge with a firearm, Acree faces 45 years to life in prison.

Also facing charges in connection to the shooting death are Ken Acree’s wife, 36-year-old Laura C. Acree, and the decedent’s wife, 29-year-old Sara M. Schofield.

They have also been charged with concealment of a homicidal death in the case. Laura Acree is next due in court on May, 23rd, while Schofield is next due in court on Wednesday, April 5th.