A Rock Island man charged in the deaths of his grandmother and uncle in May will be evaluated to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

If John P. Conwell is found unfit for trial, the proceedings against him will halt and he will be transferred to the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services for treatment until fitness is attained.

Rock Island County prosecutors made the request for an evaluation Tuesday during a hearing at the Rock Island County Justice Center. They did so based on some concerning statements made at a prior court hearing, State’s Attorney John McGehee said.

Judge Frank Fuhr granted prosecutors' request. The evaluation will be performed by Moline-based clinical psychologist Kirk Witherspoon.

A status hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8. McGehee said he did not know for sure whether the evaluation will be completed by then.

Conwell, 39, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Eleanor "Petty" and Steve Conwell, 90 and 69, respectively.

Police were called at 7:54 p.m. May 14 to the 1200 block of 29th Street for a welfare check and found the bodies of the Conwells.

Prosecutors claim in charging documents that John Conwell "knowingly and without justification" struck Eleanor and Steve Conwell in the head and cut their throats.

John Conwell was later arrested a day later in Davenport. He remained in the Rock Island County Jail on Tuesday on a $5 million cash bond.

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