BREAKING NEWS - Shadid recuses himself from Hinkle case

DeWayne Bartels
Judge James E. Shadid,right, recused himself today from the trial of of alleged serial rapist Monterius Hinkle, whose case has created considerable political tension between Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons, above, and his Republican opponent Darin LaHood. Shadid recused himself because he made a $250 contribution to Lyons' campaign in April, a fact uncovered by the Peoria Times-Observer.

The case of of alleged serial rapist Monterius Hinkle, which has become a political minefield took yet another strange turn today when Judge James E. Shadid, who has been presiding over the case, recused himself.

Shadid recused himself this afternoon from the case because he, and his wife, Jane, made a $250 contribution to the political campaign of Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons on April 29, 2008. This fact was uncovered, and confirmed, this morning by the Peoria Times-Observer.

Shadid, in his court order, filed today, said, in part, "This case was assigned to me in February 2008. As a candidate for judicial retention I have attended a variety of political functions, including a fundraiser for state's attorney Kevin Lyons in April of 2008. This does not disqualify me from my sworn duties, nor does it create any reasonable appearance of partiality.

"Nonetheless, because the case has become an issue in the state's attorney's race, and before any rulings are made on the defense motions as to change of venue, I have determined to recuse myself for the reasons stated above."

Chief Judge Stuart Borden will now preside over the case.

The rape case became a political minefield recently when Lyon's Republican opponent  Darin LaHood contacted the family of one of the victim's.

As a result, Lyons accused LaHood of interfering in a rape case involving a minor.

Lyons, at a press conference, called LaHood’s actions 'improper" and "outrageous."

LaHood, has been very vocal in defending his actions.

"Five children between the ages of 13 and 16 were allegedly raped by a convicted felon out on parole over the course of 13 months leading up to January of this year," LaHood said in a statement.

"Monterius Hinkle was arrested at least three times by law enforcement, and was never charged for any rape by the State's Attorney Office until the fifth rape. He should have been charged the first time. Instead, Hinkle left five rape victims and their devastated families. Concerned citizens of this community want answers as to why Hinkle was walking the streets of Peoria after four alleged rapes." 

LaHood went on to say, "Kevin Lyons has reduced the criminal justice system — particularly in this case — to political expediency; he has made false accusations against me, and he is ultimately responsible that Hinkle was free, on the streets of Peoria, to allegedly commit these multiple rapes."