Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 25, 2013

New trial date set for uncle accused of killing niece

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — The trial of murder suspect Justin DeRyke has been pushed into next year.

But State's Attorney Bryan Kibler said after a brief Monday morning hearing in Effingham County Circuit Court that the Feb. 10 jury selection date set by Judge Sherri Tungate won't stick.

"It's not going in February," Kibler said. "It's possible that it could, but it's unlikely."

Kibler said Public Defender Scott Schmidt has hundreds of hours of audio and video interviews to pore through in an effort to defend DeRyke, who is accused of murdering his niece in September.

Willow Long's body was found by searchers south of Watson on Sept. 9 after a two-day search that involved thousands of first responders and volunteers.

Schmidt said Monday he had received hundreds of hours of video taped interviews from Kibler's office and that he was continuing to receive more discovery. The public defender asked that DeRyke's trial be reset for at least February. Tungate granted the motion and set a new pretrial date for 11 a.m. Jan. 9 and jury selection for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 10.

Kibler told the judge that his office was still awaiting results from the Illinois State Police crime lab. He said the Jan. 9 date would more likely be a motion hearing than a typical pretrial hearing.