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Medical tests could affect Curl trial schedule

SYCAMORE – The murder trial of William “Billy” Curl could be delayed because of his poor hearing.

Curl, the 36-year-old DeKalb man accused of killing Northern Illinois University student Antinette “Toni” Keller in October 2010, might not be ready to stand trial by Dec. 3 if CT scans show problems with his hearing.

Interim Public Defender Tom McCulloch, Curl’s attorney, told Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert they were awaiting results of medical tests Curl took Tuesday. Curl originally was supposed to appear in court via closed-circuit TV from the county jail Tuesday but had to be transported to the courthouse because of difficulties hearing.

Stuckert has instructed court staff to explore technology such as voice recognition computer programs.

McCulloch said Curl also has difficulty reading, so the technology may not be much help.

Stuckert said she still planned to move forward with the trial Dec. 3, but she scheduled a hearing for Friday morning to review the results of the CT scans and address other motions.

Curl’s attorneys have asked Stuckert to dismiss the five first-degree murder counts in the indictment because they do not specify what acts caused Keller’s death. Defense attorneys are arguing they need that information to prepare a defense.

Curl’s attorneys also have asked for a hearing on whether testimony from a witness the state intends to call – Daniel McDevitt, an expert in criminology and major case management – should be allowed.

Prosecutors want Stuckert to bar testimony from clinical psychologist Jayne Braden, who conducted a psychological evaluation of Curl. Her report says Curl has a tendency to “distort or fabricate information,” according to court documents.

Curl also faces charges of concealing a homicidal death, arson and criminal sexual assault in connection with Keller’s death.

Curl was indicted in January 2011.

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