Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Judge: Man accused of killing father not fit to stand trial

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – A Winnebago County judge, on Thursday, ruled that a 22-year-old man accused of killing his father last year is unfit to stand trial.

Justin Joiner, was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated domestic violence on Feb. 14, 2018, the day after officers with the Rockford Police Department found David Joiner, 52, suffering from a stab wound in a house in the 1400 block of Christina Street. David Joiner later died at a Rockford hospital.

Judge Joe McGraw’s ruling followed testimony from Dr. Terrance Lichtenwald, a psychologist who met with Justin Joiner twice and told the court the defendant shows symptoms that indicate he may suffer from schizophrenia. Lichtenwald concluded that Joiner is mentally unfit now but could be stable enough to stand trial within the next year if he receives treatment.

Joiner, who has refused to come to court for prior proceedings, initially refused to leave his cell Thursday but complied with corrections officers after staff threatened to transport him in a restraint chair.

Joiner is due back in court July 2 for a status hearing. He is currently being held in the Winnebago County Jail. Bond is set at $1 million.

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