Aurora man says he was not 'mentally competent' to admit guilt in attempted murder, DUI

Updated 3/15/2019 6:02 PM
  • Billy Cole wants a judge to vacate his guilty plea in three crimes.

    Billy Cole wants a judge to vacate his guilty plea in three crimes.

A man sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder in Aurora, felony DUI and leading police on a car chase wants a judge to vacate his guilty plea, arguing his lawyers failed to provide adequate representation.

In his ineffective counsel motion, Billy J. Cole Jr., 39, formerly of Aurora, argues that two attorneys should have ordered more tests regarding his cognitive abilities before persuading him to plead guilty in March 2018.

Cole's motion argues he was "brain damaged and mentally disabled" and that a Kane County assistant public defender and private attorney Teresa McAdams didn't look through his MRI and other medical records to understand that he should have had a jury decide whether he was fit to stand trial.

"My plea was made while not mentally competent to fully understand," reads part of Cole's motion filed in late February from prison. "Due to all my confusion and lack of understanding, my MRI should have been shown and another fitness hearing requested and not a guilty plea."

Cole was the subject of an area manhunt in March 2017 after he escaped from Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, where he was taken after being injured in an Aurora chase.

He was found and arrested outside a relative's home in Quincy, Illinois.

In the chase, Cole refused to stop after police clocked his Ford Fusion speeding north on Lafayette Street in Aurora. The chase ended minutes later after Cole struck a traffic signal on the southeast corner of Route 25 and Ashland Avenue and then ran into a nearby cemetery.

He was arrested after he was cornered by a police dog and an officer who threatened to use a stun gun.

At the time of his arrest, Cole was free on bond from a Dec. 20, 2015, case in which he was accused of stabbing a man and trying to run him over with a vehicle.

He also faced a separate felony DUI charge from that same date.

Cole eventually pleaded guilty to all three cases: the attempted murder, the felony DUI and the March 2017 car chase.

He was sentenced to eight years on the attempted murder and two years each for the other cases, for a total of 12 years in prison.

Cole, who is due back in Kane County court March 22, says in his motion that he had "no memory" of the attempted murder case or DUI when he admitted guilt.

"McAdams knew that I, the defendant, had suffered a traumatic brain injury and should have ordered more testing to find out if this brain damage could affect my everyday thinking and processing and not convince me to sign away all my rights," reads part of the motion.

A message left with McAdams on Friday was not immediately returned.

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