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State

Trial for accused Dixon High School shooter set Aug. 20

Prosecution estimates it will take 3 weeks

Parents hug their children at Page Park in Dixon after a shooting incident during Dixon High School's graduation practice May 16.
Parents hug their children at Page Park in Dixon after a shooting incident during Dixon High School's graduation practice May 16.

Three weeks have been set aside for the trial of accused Dixon High School shooter Matthew A Milby Jr.

The trial is set to begin Aug. 20 before Lee County Circuit Court Judge Charles T. Beckman.

It will take about three days to seat a jury and a little more than two weeks for the case in chief, State’s Attorney Matt Klahn said at the Milby's pretrial hearing Friday morning.

Klahn has yet to receive any “narrative reports” from the multiple law enforcement agencies that responded May 16, but he expects them to be in hand by the end of next week, he said.

He has requested to have the results of lab tests involving ballistics, fingerprints, gunshot residue, blood and DNA by the end of June.

“That is my hope,” Klahn said, noting that he has no control over the lab’s timeline.

Beckman also submitted to Klahn 240 pages of medical records subpoenaed from Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital, where Milby was treated for gunshot wounds to his shoulder and hip suffered as he was fleeing from school resource officer Mark Dallas.

Because he is in custody, to meet his right to a speedy trial, he must be tried within 120 days of his arrest. Aug. 20 would be 96 days since the shooting.

As the case proceeds, however, depending on, among other things, motions filed, the amount or complexity of evidence and reports generated, or simply the results of further investigation, that clock can be stopped and restarted.

As a result, the original trial date rarely holds.

Milby, 19, who appeared via video from Lee County Jail, where he is being held on $2 million bail, pleaded not guilty Thursday to three felonies involving aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Two involve shots fired at a person, which is punishable by a mandatory 10 to 46 years in prison, and the third involves firing shots at a school, which is punishable by six to 30 years.

Whether those charges will be increased depends on the results of the ongoing investigation, including information in outstanding reports from the responding law enforcement agencies, Klahn has said.

Milby, a senior, is accused of taking a 9 mm semi-automatic rifle to graduation practice in the Lancaster Gym about 8 a.m. May 16, firing at gym teacher Andrew McKay, who happened to be walking down the same hallway, then taking off running seconds later when confronted and pursued by Dallas.

He fired at Dallas outside the gym; the Dixon police officer returned fire, hitting the 19-year-old in the upper shoulder and the hip. He was arrested near his car, which he had parked at Page Park west of the school.

All told, about a dozen rounds were fired – two to four inside the gym hallway, and nine during the pursuit, investigators have said. No one else was injured.

Illinois State Police are investigating. Milby is represented by Dixon attorney Thomas D. Murray.

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