BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man wants a new lawyer to represent him on murder charges in the February stabbing death of his wife.
Monroe Elbert, 50, is charged with stabbing Nicole Elbert during an incident Feb. 5 at the couple's Bloomington apartment. According to police, the victim was stabbed multiple times after Elbert followed her upstairs where she was packing to leave.
Elbert was found by police outside the apartment at 610 N. McLean St., wearing blood-stained clothing and carrying a large butcher knife. Officers went to the home in response to a 911 call from Elbert that he had just killed his wife of five years.
On Monday, public defender Brian McEldowney told Judge Scott Drazewski that Elbert has refused to communicate with him about his case, and "has requested he be assigned another public defender," said McEldowney.
Drazewski explained to Elbert that Public Defender Carla Barnes assigns cases to her staff and that a request for new counsel should be sent to her in writing. The judge would only become involved if a defendant alleges that a lawyer provided ineffective assistance, Drazewski explained.
McEldowney said he has discussed the issue with Barnes, but Elbert wants a written response from the public defender's office.
Drazewski set a Nov. 30 hearing date to review the attorney issue. The judge told Elbert to come prepared to address "each and every reason" he believes he has received ineffective legal assistance, if a new public defender has not been named to represent him.
Elbert was deemed mentally fit to stand trial in August after he received treatment at McFarland Mental Health Center, a state facility in Springfield.
Elbert also faces aggravated battery charges related to injuries authorities contend he caused his stepson, who was 8 at the time he suffered a serious head injury and a fractured leg in 2017.
Nicole Elbert left behind five children, including 3-and 1-year old girls she had with Elbert.