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Attorney says defendant not repsonsible due to mental disease

An end may be in sight for a case against a man accused of stabbing a Leaf River couple more than two years ago.

Michael Mitchell, 29, Leaf River, appeared before Ogle County Judge John Redington Dec. 9 with his public defender Eric Morrow, who filed a motion for an affirmative defense.

Morrow said the motion says Mitchell is not responsible for his conduct due to his mental disease.
Assistant State's Attorney Aaron Wiles did not object to the motion.

Redington set a stipulated bench trial for Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 2 p.m.

Mitchell will remain in the Ogle County Jail while awaiting the bench trial.

At a bench trial, a judge decides whether a defendant is guilty or innocent.

In this case Redington will decide if Mitchell, who has been examined by mental health experts, is not guilty by reason of insanity.

If he is determined to be insane, Mitchell could be committed to a secure mental health facility for an extended period of time.

Mitchell is accused of breaking into the home of David and Denise Zellers on July 3, 2011 and repeatedly stabbing them with two knives he brought with him.

Both suffered serious injuries and were taken to the hospital. They have since recovered.

After fleeing on foot from the scene, Mitchell was taken into custody a short distance from the Zellers home after a five-hour manhunt.

Mitchell is charged with four counts of attempted murder, all Class X felonies, two counts of home invasion, both Class X felonies, and four counts of aggravated battery, all Class 4 felonies.

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