Man charged in DCFS worker’s death requests new trial venue

MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man charged with murder in the death of a state child welfare worker is asking for a change of venue for his trial.

Sauk Valley Media reports a hearing is scheduled Friday afternoon on the request that 25-year-old Andrew Sucher’s Carroll County public defender filed Tuesday. They cite extensive pretrial publicity. The trial is scheduled to begin May 21.

Sucher is held on $1 million bond. He faces 20 to 60 years in prison in the death of 59-year-old Pamela Knight of Dixon. The state Department of Children and Family Services worker died Feb. 8 in a Chicago hospital. Authorities say Knight was trying to take a child into protective custody last September when Sucher allegedly kicked her in the head, fracturing her skull and causing severe brain damage.

Outrage from the case spurred Illinois Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, to draft a bill that would have increased penalties for those convicted of harming DCFS workers on the job. The bill, however, did not make it out of committee in April. The bill would have enhanced the penalty for injuring a DCFS worker to 4 to 15 years, much like a firefighter and police officer, boosting the charge from a battery to a felony aggravated battery.