Man accused of killing sister in Naperville wants to act as own lawyer

 
Updated 1/9/2012 8:09 PM
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  • Mark Lewis

    Mark Lewis

A Lakemoor man accused of beating his sister to death with a blunt object -- possibly a hammer -- wants to represent himself in court.

Mark Lewis, 51, told a Will County judge Monday he believes he can adequately defend himself because he understands the case against him and can read and write.

The comments were met by a "strong" recommendation from Judge Richard Schoenstedt for Lewis to consider a public defender.

But Lewis refused to fill out the necessary paperwork, maintaining he wants no assistance.

"I would prefer to be my own attorney," he said before pleading not guilty to first-degree murder, home invasion, residential burglary and identity theft.

Lewis is accused of killing his 59-year-old sister, Cathleen Lewis, inside the Naperville townhouse she shared with their elderly mother.

Authorities said the victim had been struck with a blunt object -- believed to be a hammer -- more than 30 times when a cousin found her the evening of June 8.

Police located Cathleen Lewis in a bedroom spattered with blood. There were no signs of a break-in, and most kitchen cabinets and drawers had been ransacked.

Family members told investigators Mark Lewis has paranoid schizophrenia and is a gambling addict. Several weeks before the killing, they said, he took on an "escalated psychotic state" after being told the family was "cutting him off" financially, according to court records. He also was being evicted for unpaid rent.

On March 22, the family reported to police concerns "about Mark Lewis becoming very angry with them due to them not supporting him financially anymore," according to court records.

A day before his sister's body was found, police said, Lewis traveled to five banks in McHenry and Lake counties and made withdrawals totaling $3,000 from his mother's bank account.

Authorities said they have surveillance images of Lewis conducting at least one of the transactions.

Lewis was immediately identified as a person of interest in the slaying. A monthlong search ended in July when he was located in Pensacola, Fla., and extradited back to Illinois, where he was subsequently charged with murder.

Lewis remains in the Will County jail on $1.5 million bail. He returns to court Feb. 6.

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