BLOOMINGTON — A judge rejected a Bloomington woman’s request for a new lawyer Tuesday to handle her sentencing on murder charges that could send her to prison for life.
Misook Nowlin, 47, was convicted in December of killing her mother-in-law, Linda Tyda. The 70-year-old victim was found in a shallow grave in September 2011 in a Will County forest preserve about a week after she was reported missing from her Crest Hill home.
Nowlin’s arguments to Judge Robert Freitag were captured by a news photographer and a videographer in the first hearing in McLean County to be included in a pilot program allowing cameras in the courtroom. The expanded coverage produced still photos and video distributed by five local media outlets.
Defense lawyer Brian McEldowney said after the hearing that the new media coverage did not affect the court proceedings.
“People got a slice of what happens every day” in court, said McEldowney.
In what was sometimes a rambling speech of grievances, Nowlin told the judge that she wanted lawyers to raise several issues that she thought would have been helpful to her case. She also complained that public defenders McEldowney and Carla Barnes did not spend much time with her before the trial.
Both lawyers countered Nowlin’s claims with records that showed they and other lawyers from the public defender’s office spent many hours preparing her case.
Nowlin also argued that she wanted an interpreter before her March 1 sentencing hearing.
Freitag turned down that request, saying the issue had not been raised at any time during the case. The judge said he has observed Nowlin throughout the proceedings and does not believe she needs help.
Freitag noted that among Nowlin’s jobs since she came to the U.S. was work as a business owner and an interpreter.
Nowlin previously testified at length at two court hearings — one to hear arguments on a motion to suppress her statements to police and a second time as a witness at her trial. Nowlin contends that she strangled Tyda in self-defense after the two women argued.
Witnesses for the state testified that Nowlin lured her mother-in-law to Bloomington by arranging a phony assignment as a Chinese translator.