Mental Evaluation Delays Terror Suspect’s Case

Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – There’s been an indefinite delay in the legal case against a Madison County man accused of making terrorist threats.

Related Story: 18-Year-Old Godfrey Man Faces Terrorism Charges

A hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon in Edwardsville was pushed back when the judge in the case ruled that 18-year-old Keaun Cook should undergo a mental fitness evaluation.

“I think that that order is precipitated by his appearance in court (Wednesday),” according to Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons. “Certainly his behavior and his mannerism in court were factors.”

During a brief court appearance that was supposed to determine whether Cook’s $150,000 bail amount would be removed so that he could be held without bond, the defendant told the judge he didn’t need an attorney, saying that he was “doing okay.”

He later decided to accept the help of the county public defender rather than try to represent himself.

However, Cook also suggested during the hearing that the “wrong picture” of him was being presented and that he was anxious to “get to the bottom of it.”

The mental health evaluation will need to be completed before any more court proceedings can be carried out.

“I mean, it can take as long as several weeks,” said Gibbons. “It depends on the workload of the evaluator, and that’s something beyond our control.”

Cook is charged with one count of making a terrorist threat and one count of material support for terrorism.

He could face up to 70 years in prison if convicted on both felony charges.

Cook is accused of being in contact through social media with an as-yet unnamed terrorist organization, which he planned to help carry out terrorist attacks on at least three locations in the Madison County area.

State’s Attorney Gibbons says even though Cook’s bond officially remains at $150,000, there’s no chance of him getting out of prison during the mental evaluation process.

“He technically is being held without bond right now,” Gibbons explained. “The court has determined that he may not be released. Even if someone were to show up with $150,000 in cash he would not get out of jail.”

Gibbons said that satisfies law enforcers’ immediate concerns that Cook stays off the street and that the community-at-large remains safe.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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