A Sheridan man who allegedly shot at two men, injuring one, before mounting a 10-hour standoff with police has been found unfit to stand trial.
Jeffrey L. Plique, 56, was scheduled Friday to receive trial dates in La Salle County Circuit Court on three felonies led by aggravated battery with a firearm, a Class X felony carrying up to 30 years is in prison. For now, however, the trial is off.
Instead, a court-appointed mental health expert determined Plique is unfit that is, he lacks the faculties to assist his lawyers at trial – and he will be turned over to the Illinois Department of Human Services for mental health treatment.
By law, Plique will remain in state care either for a year, starting on the date the order was signed, or until he’s deemed fit for trial. A status hearing is set for March 3.
Questions of Plique’s mental health were raised while the Oct. 22 standoff was underway. Neighbors expressed shock at the shooting and described Plique’s alleged conduct as wildly out of character. An evaluation was sought early in the criminal proceedings and Plique could be heard to say in open court, “This is about the government harassing me.”
La Salle County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched Oct. 22 to Sheridan Food Mart, where witnesses said Plique fired “multiple” shots and struck a 62-year-old in the thigh. The victim survived.
Plique took refuge in a home on West Church Street and finally surrendered after roughly 10 hours of negotiations. A rifle and pistol were ejected from the house minutes before he surrendered himself.
Besides the charge of aggravated battery with a firearm, Plique also is charged with two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm (sentencing range: four-15 years) for firing another shot that missed the injured man and another that was aimed at a vehicle, which also missed.
All charges are subject to the state Truth in Sentencing Act, requiring certain felons to serve at least 85% of their prison time.
Source: The Daily Chronicle