Effingham, Il – This morning, at 11:00 a.m., Robert G Pendergast, 57, of Effingham appeared in Effingham County Court before the presiding Judge Eder over his felony charges of involuntary manslaughter, and aggravated battery due to a fight that occurred earlier this year.
According to the Effingham Daily News, “He was allegedly in a fight with Corey Stice, 53, of Effingham, on May 16.”
“Stice died on May 18 after his life support was removed.”
“He has remained in jail since his arrest on May 18 with bond set at $100,000, according to the jail log.”
At the prior hearing, presiding Judge Lolie reviewed a 911 phone call that was placed on the night of the incident.
Also reviewed was the testimony of Pendergast’s alleged girlfriend, Renee Breedlove. Breedlove stated in her testimony that she was attacked by Stice before Pendergast became involved in the fight.
After hearing the testimony, and reviewing the 911 call, EDN reported that, “Lolie did not find Breedlove a credible witness due to the inconsistent testimony.”
“The judge also said the phone call showed ‘two intoxicated people,’ rather than the sober people presented by Breedlove.”
The previous review of the case done by Judge Lolie is what led to today’s hearing.
Pendergast, and his attorney, Scott Ealy, made a request of Substitution Judge for Cause, because of perceived bias by Judge Lolie at the previous hearing.
If approved, Lolie would be removed from the case altogether.
Judge Eder asked Ealy to explain why they felt the motion was necessary and also to explain the reasoning as to why Judge Lolie would be led to act in such a way.
Ealy stated that Judge Lolie made a false presumption that both people sounded intoxicated on the phone call without sufficient proof as to whether they actually were at the moment the phone call was placed.
Judge Lolie stated at the previous hearing that he presumed the individuals in the phone call were intoxicated due to his experience at having dealt with
inebriated people in the past and can easily identify what they would sound like over the phone.
In response, the assistant state’s attorney Ian Warren, claimed that although the judge did in fact make those observations and subsequent statements, there was no evidence to show that the judge was in any way biased or prejudiced towards the defendant in delivering a decision on the case.
After hearing from both Warren and Ealy, Judge Eder denied the motion of substitution for cause.
Judge Lolie is expected to resume his duties as presiding judge in the case moving forward at trial.
“While we are not happy with the result, making the motion was appropriate,” said Ealy at the conclusion of the hearing.
Assistant state’s attorney Ian Warren declined to comment.
The Pre-Trial hearing in the case is set for December 28, 2017 at 1:00 p.m..