Acree’s Motion to Reduce Bond Denied, Defense To Hire Expert Witnesses, PI

By Benjamin Cox on July 19, 2021 at 2:10pm

A Murrayville man in jail for first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide sought to have his bail reduced in Morgan County Court Friday afternoon.

36 year old Kenneth J. Acree, through his defense attorney W. Scott Hanken, sought to have his original bail of $1.5 million dollars reduced to a half million dollars Friday afternoon while the trial proceedings in his case move forward. Hanken indicated that the family could post the 10% required to allow Acree to be out of jail on conditional bond. Hanken asked Judge Ryan Cadigan for Acree to be allowed to live with a family member in Jerseyville, be on ankle monitoring, and pursue a job offer with a salary of $20 an hour to aid in the costs of his own defense.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll says due to the nature of the case, he argued that Acree should remain at his original bond: “[The defense] argued what is referred to as factors in mitigation that would tend to convince the court to lower his bond, and obviously, the state objected to lowering of the defendant’s bond. Our main argument was the serious nature of the offenses and some pre-trial motions that the defense had filed earlier having to do with self-defense and things of that nature. In the end, the court denied the motion to reduce bond and bond remains in the amount of $1.5 million, and the case has been set for a pre-trial status on October 8th.”

Hanken then told the court that he would be presenting the court with a future motion with a budget to hire expert witnesses and to hire Terrence M. Moody of Centurion Investigators as a private investigator to aid in Acree’s case.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Cadigan released subpoenaed records surrounding Acree and Acree’s co-defendants in the murder case from the Department of Child and Family Services. Noll said he does not know currently what evidence lies in the records: “Previously, Mr. Hanken subpoenaed some records from DCFS involving the defendant, the decedent, and some co-defendants in some DCFS investigations that have occurred previously. Whatever DCFS has turned over, it went to the judge, [Judge Cadigan] reviewed it, and has provided it to our office to provide to Mr. Hanken. It was just given to me [on Friday], so I don’t know the specifics of what was contained in those investigations, but I was ordered to turn that over to the defense.” Noll has 10 days to turn the discovery documents over to Hanken’s Office as stipulated by law and the hearing.

Acree is accused of shooting 32 year old Robert Schofield in rural Murrayville in October of last year. Acree’s counsel has filed a self-defense claim in the case. Acree is also accused of then 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. 36 year old Laura C. Acree and 29 year old Sara M. Schofield, the wives of the accused and the decedent have also been charged with concealment of a homicidal death in the case. Sara Schofield is next due in court on September 8th, while Laura Acree awaits an October 6th pre-trial conference.