CARLINVILLE — A bench trial relating to a 2019 murder in southern Macoupin County came to a close earlier this week. The end result as of Wednesday: a 60-year confinement for Clinton Sanders in a state mental health facility.
Sanders, 39, formerly of Gillespie, was in a bench trial on May 24 on a single count of first-degree murder. The alleged incident: that Sanders delivered blunt force trauma injuries to his mother Sandra Sanders. The elder Sanders, then 79, suffered head and neck injuries at her home in the 400 block of East Easton Street in Gillespie.
Sandra Sanders identified her son as the attacker before being transported by Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance Service to the hospital. She would later succumb to her injuries at Carlinville Area Hospital.
It would mark the first recordable homicide in Gillespie since 2011.
Gillespie Police Department chief Jared DePoppe would present testimony during this trial, recalling his knowledge of the incident.
DePoppe also testified that when Clinton Sanders was taken into custody on December 16, 2019, he repeatedly claimed he was under a spiritual attack and was making little sense. DePoppe conducted a videotaped interview with Sanders which was admitted into evidence.
The video depicted that he was alone in the room carrying on conversations as if others were there and during the interview, directed other invisible entities to answer questions for him. Sanders repeated that a demonic force had taken over his body in the incident that took his mother’s life.
An expert opinion was entered into the case saying that Sanders was experiencing acute psychosis due to the onset of multiple mental health disorders, including schizoaffective disorder which pre-existed the murder.
Sanders found not guilty by insanity
Sanders was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity on May 25.
A commitment hearing Wednesday, according to WLDS, proved that he was a threat not only to himself but also others. This comes not just from evidence presented during the trial, but also through ongoing observations of Sanders.
Macoupin County Judge Joshua Meyer would order Sanders into the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services. The commitment is for a period not to exceed 60 years in an IDHS-run mental asylum.
A tentative date of release would be no earlier than December 16, 2079, which is retroactive to the matricide and accounts for time already served. If released at the end of the 60-year term, he would be 99.