Judge in Gill Murder Trial orders County to pay for defendant’s mental evaluation

By Gary Scott on September 27, 2017 at 10:01am

Part of the tax dollars paid by citizens of Morgan County will go towards paying for a mental examination of 63-year old Robert Gill, currently on trial for murder.

Originally scheduled to start October 10th, Gill’s trial has been delayed further due to Gill’s inability to pay for a mental evaluation that, at a hearing on September 15th, the defense argued was crucial to their case. Yesterday, Circuit Judge April Troemper ruled that such an evaluation was necessary in order for Gill to receive a proper trial.

However, since Gill cannot afford to pay for the mental evaluation, Judge Troemper ruled that Gill’s defense team of Springfield-based attorney Scott Hanken will require Morgan County to pay up to $10-thousand dollars to Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Obolsky for a mental evaluation.

Originally asking for a $37,000 fee for the examination of Gill, and to testify at his trail, Obolsky decided to lower his fee to an estimated $9,800 after Judge Troemper urged the defense to seek a reduced fee.

According to Morgan County Circuit Clerk Amy Sipes, as well as Board Chairperson Ginny Fanning, the county’s budget does includes a line item of $30-thousand dollars to pay for a range of court-ordered expenses, including experts that are required for indigent defendants.

Chairperson Fanning says that the money to pay for the psychiatrist’s evaluation will come out of the tax dollars of Morgan County residents, but emphasized that the county sets aside money each year for line items such as this, and that this was nothing new.

Defense Attorney Hanken’s argument for the mental evaluation is that Obolsky should be able to provide valuable information regarding Gill’s state of mind during the September 2015 shooting of Andrew Maul, Gill’s former son-in-law, as well as the arson of Maul’s mother home that occurred later that same night.