William Tinkler, the 60-year-old Elgin man who police say stashed more than 40 animals in a van, will undergo a physical and mental evaluation to determine whether he is fit to stand trial on misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.
Friday morning, Judge Kathryn Karayannis ordered the test on the advice of Tinkler's attorney, Michael Reidy. The Kane County Diagnostic Center will perform the evaluation and it should be ready within six weeks.
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Prosecutor Kelley Flinn planned to ask the judge to modify or raise Tinkler's bail on allegations that he tampered with some of the traps police put in his house to capture more animals. But she agreed to wait until Tinkler's test results are in.
"Now that a fitness claim has been made, I don't know if it's appropriate (to proceed) until the fitness has been made," Flinn said.
The case is up for a status hearing Jan. 10 at Elgin branch court.
Tinkler, of the 200 block of Villa Street, is facing four counts of cruelty to animals and one count of violating the dead animal disposal act.
The charges came after 43 dead and decaying cats, birds, squirrels and other animals were found in a van outside the home he lives in in September.
Last month, Tinkler failed to appear in court on a related civil matter and forfeited the right to keep four adult cats that were seized from the property.
Reidy said the cats have since been adopted and Tinkler never hurt the animals.
"The guy is just down on his luck," Reidy said of Tinkler. "He just had a bunch of cats in his house. He didn't do anything."
Friday morning, Tinkler appeared quite frail in court. Wearing a gray jacket, black pants and black sneakers, he limped his way to the bench with a court officer serving as his escort. He sat at an angle during the proceedings and spent much of the time looking down, with one of his hands balancing his head or at his mouth.
Reidy said his client likely suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from his days in the Vietnam War and doubts Tinkler's ability to stand trial due to mental and physical ailments.
Friday morning, the judge also gave Tinkler permission to attend his father's funeral in Maryland. He leaves Saturday and is scheduled to return Monday.
If found guilty of misdemeanor cruelty, Tinkler could spend up to 364 days in prison. Probation, fines and community service are also options.