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Parents’ attorney objects to plea offer in fatality

Cynthia Koroll, an attorney for David and Robin Swaziek, looks to the gallery of a few family members as she asks Ogle County Judge John Redington questions during Thursday's hearing. Photo by Earleen Hinton
Cynthia Koroll, an attorney for David and Robin Swaziek, looks to the gallery of a few family members as she asks Ogle County Judge John Redington questions during Thursday's hearing. Photo by Earleen Hinton

The attorney for the parents of a Rockford woman killed in a boating crash almost two years ago voiced her clients’ objections to a plea offer April 5 in Ogle County Court.

Rockford attorney Cynthia Koroll represents David and Robin Swaziek, Loves Park, whose daughter Megan Wells, 31, was killed on June 24, 2016, on the Rock River three miles north of Oregon when a johnboat operated by Marc Mongan, 47, Oregon, struck her as it went over the back of the pontoon boat she was riding in, throwing her overboard.

Koroll said she received a copy of the plea offer sent by special prosecutor David Neal, from the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor’s office, to Mongan’s attorney David Tess, Rochelle.

“We object vehemently to it,” she said.

Mongan has been charged with one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, a Class 2 felony; three counts of reckless homicide, all class 3 felonies; and three counts of reckless conduct, all Class 4 felonies.

Last Thursday’s court date was expected to be the final pretrial hearing before Mongan’s trial begins on April 23.

Neal told Judge John Redington that he has made a plea offer to Mongan and has set April 12 as the deadline for accepting or rejecting the offer.

He said he may also file a motion in limine in response to a report he recently received from defense experts Cooper Barrette Consulting, Woodstock. The firm’s website says it does crash reconstruction.

A motion in limine is a motion which asks the judge to limit or prevent certain evidence from being presented at trial.

Neal said he has filed a subpoena for additional documents from Cooper Barrette Consulting.

He asked Redington for an additional pre-trial hearing to consider the motion in limine.

Redington set a final pre-trial hearing for Tuesday, April 17, but told Neal to have the motion field by April 11.

Tess filed a motion to exclude certain prosecution witnesses from testifying at the trial.

Redington reserved his ruling after Neal said he believed a solution could be worked out.

Tess said he also would be adding witnesses to testify about Mongan’s medical condition, which he did not elaborate on.

Koroll asked if the Swazieks and their family members and supporters can wear T-shirts and bring signs supporting Wells during the trial.

During the course of the case, they have worn red shirts and carried signs, both bearing Wells’ photo and slogans such as “Justice for Megan.”

Redington ruled that the group may wear red shirts, but they must be devoid of messages or photos.

Redington denied Koroll’s request to strike a defense sub poena asking for employment records for David Daily, Leaf River, the driver of the pontoon boat.

“You don’t represent Mr. Daily or his employer so you have no standing to strike it,” he said.

Redington also denied her request for to reserve three rows in the court for the Swazieks and their family and supporters during the trial.

Instead, Redington said he would reserve three seats for Koroll and David and Robin Swaziek.

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