The sentencing hearing for a Lisle man convicted in the 2010 murder of a Grayslake woman was delayed after he tried to declare his defense attorney was ineffective during the trial.
Donald Mischke filed the surprise motion and requested a new trial minutes before his sentencing hearing was scheduled to begin Friday in front of Lake County Circuit Judge Mark Levitt and the family of Elisha Clark.
In the motion, Mischke claims Christopher Lombardo, of Waukegan, pushed him into having a bench trial rather than a jury trial and failed to ask appropriate questions to keep certain statements Mischke made to police out of the trial.
However, after the motion was filed, Levitt told Mischke, "Quite frankly, Mr. Lombardo has done an outstanding job so far."
Because it was an official motion in court, Levitt gave Mischke until March 1 to file evidence to prove Lombardo was ineffective.
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 8. If Levitt denies the motion, Mischke's sentencing will be the same day.
"Ultimately, the defendant makes the decision on whether to have a bench or jury trial," Lombardo said. "He felt I should have asked questions that I didn't. But, we'll go before the judge (next month) then, depending on the judges decision, move on to sentencing."
Mischke was convicted of first-degree murder Jan. 4 for running a red light and crashing his car into the vehicle driven by Clark, 25, on Dec. 23, 2010. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Prosecutors said Mischke was fleeing police at the time after an officer caught him breaking into the Target store at Lewis and Sunset avenues in Waukegan.
Mischke, 56, who opted to have a judge decide his fate instead of a jury, was also found guilty of aggravated driving under the influence, aggravated fleeing and eluding police officers, burglary and retail theft.
Under the law, a person who kills another during the commission of a crime can be found guilty of first-degree murder.
During the trial, prosecutors said Mischke was committing a crime by fleeing police. Lombardo claimed the chase had ended, so Mischke was no longer committing a crime when the fatal accident took place.