BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl and murdering a Peoria woman cannot subpoena the girl's mental health records as part of the defense effort to challenge the victim's credibility, a judge ruled Monday.

Kyle Brestan, 32, is charged with murder in the May death of Shannon Hastings, 27, who was found dead in a west side Bloomington hotel room with more than 100 stab wounds.

Images found by police on Brestan's cell phone are the basis for child pornography charges filed after his arrest in the homicide case. Sexual assault charges were filed after a second interview with the victim by Child Advocacy Center staff in another county where the teen was hospitalized in a psychiatric unit.

At a hearing Monday in Brestan's sexual assault case, defense lawyer Stephanie Wong argued the girl's credibility could be an issue based upon an extensive history of mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction.

DCFS records provided to the defense as part of the pre-trial discovery process describe the minor as "mentally unstable," and suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder and other possible diagnoses, said Wong.

The minor is currently under DCFS guardianship, said Wong.

The information the girl told authorities in her two interviews is inconsistent, said Wong.

In her first meeting with police, the minor denied sexual contact with Brestan, said Wong, but several months later she estimated 400 to more than 1,000 sexual encounters over about four months.

Assistant State's Attorney Jacob Harlow disagreed, saying the alleged victim was coy during her first interview and showed concern for the serious legal situation Brestan faced.

Harlow challenged the defense request for the confidential records that first would have to be reviewed by the judge before released to the defense.

The request "is closer to what would certainly be prohibited ... a fishing expedition," Harlow argued.

In his ruling, Judge Robert Freitag said the defense failed to offer adequate specific information to show the relevance of the records. The fact that some mental health information was available through the pre-trial materials indicates that other sources may exist for the records other than the confidential files, said Freitag.

Forensic testing of evidence in Brestan's murder case is progressing at the Morton state crime lab, Assistant State's Attorney Brad Rigdon said Monday.

A Jan. 12 hearing is set to review the status of both cases. 

Subscribe to The Pantagraph

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community.
Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.

Become a subscriber

Thank you for subscribing

Your contribution makes local journalism possible.

Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny



Reporter for The Pantagraph.