“Snafu” cancels plea hearing for second time in two days

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois- An anticipated plea in a 2013 drunk driving case is on hold again, this time because the defendant didn't show up in court.

It's the second time this week that a hearing for Mitchell Gayer has been cancelled at the last minute.

"This morning there was a little snafu," announced Rock Island County States Attorney John McGehee at what was supposed to be the start of Gayer's plea hearing Tuesday morning.

"I apologize. It's not the state's fault. The defendant's not here,"  he told those in courtroom 502, the audience consisting mostly of family and friends of the victims, who left the courtroom shaking their heads.

Gayer is accused of aggravated drunk driving in the 2013 crash that killed Jamie Sedam and Clayton Carver. Police say his blood alcohol was more than twice the legal limit.

A plea hearing Monday afternoon was cancelled at the last minute because of a scheduling conflict with the judge.

Family and friends of Sedam say they were told Gayer's defense attorney was unable to reach him about Tuesday's time and location.

"I'm upset. I'm angry," said Eleanor Stout, Sedam's best friend. "It was a lack  of communication between the defense attorney and her own client. It didn't stem from the state at all, they were ready to go. It's just a slap in the face."

Defense attorney Katherine Drummond had no comment.

Sedam's mother, Tracey O'Hara, said she is frustrated because the case has been ongoing without resolution for more than 3 years.

"I hope that Mitchell comes to court tomorrow. I hope he's properly informed," she said.

Gayer plead guilty last year and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. However, Judge Tom Berglund allowed him to take back the plea and hire a new attorney.

The state and defense have reportedly hammered out a possible plea deal in the case, and will try again for Wednesday morning.

"Nothing's ever going to bring back Jamie and Clayton. But, the healing process cannot start until he is sentenced. It's been three years," said Stout.