BLOOMINGTON — In June, Brittney Mikesell will face murder charges in the December 2017 death of her boyfriend, but jurors also will hear about a prior unrelated incident that led to mob action and aggravated battery charges against her, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Mikesell, 24, of Bloomington is charged under the state's felony murder law that allows a person other than the killer to be charged if the death occurred during the commission of a forcible felony. Mikesell's 21-year-old boyfriend, Cullen Hedrick, was fatally stabbed by Rodney Daugherty after the victim attacked Daugherty with a machete.
Hedrick's death on Dec. 2, 2017, occurred during an incident at Southgate Estates on the Bloomington's south side. According to police, Hedrick and Mikesell were looking to settle a dispute when they parked outside a mobile home. When Daugherty parked behind the couple's vehicle, Mikesell allegedly sprayed him with pepper spray and Hedrick, his face covered with a bandanna, brandished a large knife.
Mikesell drove her boyfriend to the hospital where he died. She was initially charged with aggravated battery for allegedly spitting on an emergency medical technician.
Mikesell and Hedrick were involved in another altercation at a trailer park in Normal a week prior to the fatal fight, according to authorities. Mikesell was accused of hitting a man with a baseball bat.
At a hearing on Friday, defense lawyer Bryan McIntyre asked that Mikesell have a separate trial on the mob action and aggravated battery charges related to that Nov. 28, 2017, incident.
Linking the Normal incident with the Dec. 2 homicide is prejudicial to Mikesell, McIntyre argued.
First Assistant State's Attorney Brad Rigdon claimed the two disputes were part of a continuing plan between Mikesell and Hedrick to seek revenge on those who challenged them.
In his ruling issued Wednesday, Judge Casey Costigan said the two incidents "go to show defendant's plan, motive and preparation to carry out the plan."
The plans had similarities, said the judge, including Mikesell driving while her boyfriend wielded a bat or machete to threaten or beat victims as the assailants hid behind masks and her use of pepper spray.
"All are distinctive features to show defendant and her boyfriend's method of working," said the ruling.
The judge also ruled Friday that the jury can hear about an altercation in Heyworth that involved Mikesell and Hedrick just before they drove to Southgate.
Mikesell's trial is set for June 10.