Last month at a hearing Judge Scott Drazewski told both sides he would like to be ready to set a trial date for Kirk Zimmerman at the hearing coming up Thursday.
This will be the first time an actual trial date has been a possibility in the three years since the 2014 killing of financial advisor Pam Zimmerman in her east Washington Street office.
There are still more motions to consider on Thursday. Pantagraph reporter Edith Brady-Lunny said the state is trying to introduce evidence of potential other crimes Zimmerman might have committed other than the shooting of his ex-wife that he is currently accused of committing.
Brady-Lunny said police found a small amount of marijuana in Zimmerman's car when he was arrested. Other instances include things about his behavior during his divorce which could be considered a crime, such as standing outside his former wife's window.
Brady-Lunny said prosecutors will try to get those things introduced to heap bad information on and try to put Zimmerman in a bad light with the jury.
"When you are trying to build a largely circumstantial case, every little stick counts that you can throw into the fire and try to build heat for the jury," said Brady-Lunny.
There is also potential testimony about a trip to Indiana during which prosecutors allege Zimmerman intended to buy a gun that would match the type of weapon used to kill Pam Zimmerman. Defense lawyers are resisting the introduction of that information.
"According to the defense, they have done some investigating and they say there is really nothing to it, that the police came back empty-handed," said Brady-Lunny.
"Prosecutors said they have evidence that Zimmerman went to Indiana at least to inquire about buying a gun from a certain individual. The problem is that they have never found a gun, and both sides say they have information to prove their claim on this, said Brady-Lunny.
And that's where a judge's rulings are the most important because the judge will determine what information will go to the jury, said Brady-Lunny.
"It doesn't mean it will be admitted at the trial, but it does mean that it crosses the first threshold," said Brady-Lunny.
Judge Drazewski, Brady-Lunny said, has tried to narrow down the information that this jury will have in front of them. And a lot of that dealt with the statements that police have collected from more than a dozen people about the Zimmermans and what the Zimmermans said about and to each other.
"And the judge has narrowed that information down to pretty much only information that dealt with child support payments and was made in very close proximity to where she was killed. And that has really tied one hand behind the state's back when the state has tried to build its circumstantial case."
The state, of course, has come back and asked the judge to reconsider. But, Brady-Lunny said, without a good reason that rarely happens.
Brady-Lunny said lawyers and judges typically do not like to schedule potential six-week trials around holiday periods. She said a possible early trial date could be in January, and attorneys could then work backwards to try to get in the rest of their motions and preparation to meet that deadline.
You can also listen to the full interview:
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.