The sentencing hearing for a man convicted of murder in the death of Egerton Dover was postponed Thursday after he asked for a hearing on claims that he received ineffective legal help from his lawyers.
Tyjuan Bruce was convicted in August of helping plot a botched 2018 drug robbery of Dover, 18, in the victim’s Bloomington apartment. Anthony Grampsas, who authorities believe drove Bruce and Curtis Hairston to Dover's home, was convicted of murder in July. Hairston, also of Decatur, was killed in an unrelated shooting last year in Decatur.
Dover was shot Dec. 5, 2018, after he returned from a gathering at a Normal apartment complex. Witnesses said several people were upset with Dover because he shared information about a large purchase of marijuana, but failed to share the drugs with people at the party.
Police think Hairston and Bruce went inside the apartment where Hairston fired the fatal shots while Grampsas waited outside. Bruce and Grampsas were charged with murder under an Illinois law that allows a person to be charged with murder if they play a part in a death that occurs during a forcible felony. Bruce also was convicted of home invasion, armed robbery and residential burglary.
On Thursday, Bruce laid out more than 15 allegations against the team of public defenders who represented him on the murder charges. The judge denied each of the claims raised in the three-hour hearing and set an Oct. 14 sentencing.
Among Bruce's claims was information not previously disclosed to the defense, according to public defender Mark Messman. Bruce said photos exist of a man holding a belt allegedly taken from Dover during the robbery attempt. The photo was taken a month before Dover's death, said Bruce.
Police contend Bruce stole the expensive belt and was shown on social media with the belt after the slaying.
“I never saw a picture or presentable evidence prior to trial" related to Bruce's new claim, said Messman.
Bruce's mother, Beverly Bruce, stood up in the courtroom during the hearing and attempted to show the photos Bruce mentioned in his motion. The judge called a short recess to allow her to share photos with the defense.
The defendant's mother testified earlier Thursday that she plans to hire a new lawyer to handle post-trial matters. Judge Scott Drazewski declined to delay proceedings on Bruce's claims, saying he was convinced the attorney has definitely been hired.
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