BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man dismissed his public defender Thursday and told a judge he plans to represent himself on murder charges that accuse him of killing three people in June.

Sydney Mays also exercised his right to a speedy trial within 120 days of being taken into custody. Judge Casey Costigan set the case on the January trial calendar after asking Mays a series of questions to determine his level of understanding of the legal system.

Public Defenders Carla Barnes and Brian McEldowney were in court for what was scheduled to be a hearing to review the status of the case against the 25- year-old defendant.

Mays "indicated his desire to go pro se. I advised him against it because these are serious charges, but he has the constitutional right to represent himself," Barnes said after the hearing.

Mays, who pleaded not guilty to the charges Nov. 3., was arrested in Wisconsin on drug charges several weeks after the June 18 shooting that also left Pena's young son critically injured. He was extradited to McLean County in October on the murder charges.

Citing state Supreme Court rules that bar prosecutors from commenting on pending cases, McLean County State's Attorney Don Knapp declined to comment Thursday on the short time frame now facing the state for the murder trial.

If Mays' trial begins in January, it will be the first of three 2018 homicides with multiple victims to go to trial. 

In June, Hammet Brown was charged with killing Taneshiea Brown, 20 (no relation), and Steven Alexander Jr., 18, outside a gathering on Orchard Road. Two others were shot but survived their wounds.

Police say there are no connections among the three cases.

Photos: 2018 McLean County jail mug shots


Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny

McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.