Finlaw Asks State for Witness List Ahead of Final Pre-Trial Hearing

By Benjamin Cox on August 21, 2021 at 8:37am

A man defending himself against charges of murder in Morgan County Court yesterday says he needs a witness list before he can be ready to go to trial.

21 year old Dustin Finlaw says that Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll has not produced a specified witness list for him to file subpoenas for his own witnesses ahead of his September 14th trial for the stabbing death of 42 year old Robert Utter of Rushville.

Noll says that his list of names had been included in the discovery documents turned over to Finlaw several weeks ago when he began defending himself (known as pro se) in the case. Finlaw persisted in asking the court for a specific list so he can begin issuing subpoenas for rebuttal witnesses in his defense.

Visiting Judge Jack Davis II ordered Noll and Finlaw to turn over a specific list of witnesses, a list of exhibits, and statement of case to each other prior to the final pre-trial hearing scheduled for September 8th.

Davis also questioned the state about turnaround time from the Illinois State Police on an outstanding DNA analysis and a cellphone data extraction being conducted by the FBI.

Noll told the court that the DNA analysis is on a fast track with the Illinois State Police crime lab and would be turned around in approximately two weeks. Noll says he has not received communication from the FBI on the timetable of the cellphone data extraction.

Davis then asked if Finlaw had any objections with the DNA or the cellphone evidence. Finlaw said that an analysis had already been conducted prior by police and he was unsure of the new analysis’ relevance the case. Finlaw says the discovery he received said that the DNA taken from the scene of the crime and his DNA extracted from a musical instrument in his residence shortly after the crime occurred did not match. As for the phone extraction, Finlaw says he’s unsure of what the state believes they will find in his cellphone data that would serve as evidence that would be used in the case.

All motions and further questions are due to the court prior to the September 8th final pre-trial hearing.