Posted on Thu, Oct. 14, 2010BY CAROLYN P. SMITH
A Cahokia man accused of fatally wounding a Centreville police officer has been ruled fit to stand trial by a St. Clair County judge.
Lemuel Houston, 23, has been returned to the St. Clair County Jail waiting trial on first-degree murder charges in the June 2, 2009, shooting death of Gregory Jonas, a 15-year veteran of the Centreville Police Department who was well-liked in the community.
Houston has spent nearly a year after being treated at the Chester Mental Health Center. He was booked back into the county jail this week.
On Nov. 5, St. Clair County Judge John Baricevic wrote an order that said, "The court finds that if the defendant (Houston) was provided a course of in-patient treatment, there's a substantial probability that he'd be able to attain fitness within the course of one year."
St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus said Houston was transferred to the Chester hospital on Nov. 20, "once a bed became available there."
Houston was returned to Baricevic's courtroom on Tuesday when his treatment at the Chester facility was finished and he was found fit to stand trial, Justus said.
Houston's trial is scheduled for Dec. 7. His bail is set at $1 million.
Jonas was popular among the young and old for the way he talked to people and his passion for the job he did. He did everything he could to keep the citizens of Centreville stay safe and encouraged young people to stay off of the corners and out of gangs.
Residents and community activists referred to Jonas as the "grandfather of the streets," and said he was a mentor and role model to young people.
Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 239-2503.
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