Mitchell A. Gayer, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence in connection with a double-fatal DUI crash in 2013, wants a judge to reconsider his sentence or allow him to take back his Alford plea.
In a six-page motion filed Oct. 10 in Rock Island County Circuit Court, defense attorney Katherine Drummond said that Gayer’s plea was made “unknowingly and involuntarily” and that the sentencing judge misapplied the law by considering improper sentencing factors.
A hearing date on the motion had not been set as of Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Andalusia man entered an Alford plea in late January to one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, a Class 2 felony.
In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees the prosecution likely could prove the charge at trial.
Judge Richard Zimmer sentenced him to eight years in prison on Sept. 11. He must serve 85 percent of the sentence before he can be considered for parole.
According to the Illinois Department of Corrections website, he was in the Shawnee Correctional Center as of Wednesday.
According to Rock Island County Sheriff's deputies, Gayer lost control of his 1999 Chevrolet S10 on a curve on 51st Street West near Milan and swerved off the road and into a ditch and hit a tree on Nov. 27, 2013.
Gayer sustained serious injuries and was in a coma for two weeks. His passengers died -- Jamie Sedam, 22, of Port Byron, and Clayton Carver, 24, of Taylor Ridge.
According to prior court testimony, Gayer had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.146, nearly twice the legal limit to drive.
Gayer has maintained that he has no memory of the crash itself or the events leading up to it.
In January 2015, he entered an Alford plea to one count of aggravated driving under the influence and was sentenced in May 2015 to 18 years in prison.
He later filed a motion to take back the plea and argued that his former attorney, William Schick, was ineffective.
On Dec. 30, 2015, Associate Judge Thomas Berglund granted his request to take back his plea and vacated his prison sentence.
Illinois law allows for probation in aggravated DUI cases where a death occurs only if the trial judge finds that there are "extraordinary circumstances."
In the motion to reconsider his eight-year sentence, Drummond wrote that she provided Zimmer with four transcripts from other sentencing hearings where the judges in those cases found that extraordinary circumstances existed.
Zimmer “refused” to read the transcripts and determined that the transcripts and findings were not binding and therefore not applicable to its determination, according to the motion.
“The court misapplied the law when it restricted its ability to consider factors in mitigation, consequentially limiting its ability to consider relevant sentencing factors,” Drummond wrote in the motion.
She argued that the judge’s failure to consider the other trial court cases “materially prejudiced the defendant and his ability to argue and present evidence/persuasive authority for extraordinary circumstances.”
Rock Island County State’s Attorney John McGehee said Wednesday that he has seen Gayer's motion and that he intends to file a response once a hearing is scheduled.