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Daily Journal
January 31, 2022
#23-31 KDJ

Defense attorney withdraws from Darius Sullivan's

By Jeff Bonty

KANKAKEE — Darius D. Sullivan, the Bourbonnais man charged with killing Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic and wounding Officer Tyler Bailey, is looking for another attorney.

Sullivan, 25, was in Kankakee County court on Friday via video feed. It was scheduled to be his arraignment on first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Instead, Sullivan’s attorney, Bart Beals, filed a motion to withdraw, which Kankakee County Circuit Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott granted. After the hearing, Beals did not say why he withdrew from the case.

When Elliott asked if Sullivan planned to hire an attorney or was asking her to appoint a public defender, he said he was going to hire an attorney.

“I’m going to need a month or two,” Sullivan explained.

Elliott set Sullivan’s next court date for March 7.

Sullivan and his girlfriend, Xandria Harris, 26, of Bradley, are both charged with first-degree murder in Rittmanic’s death and attempted murder in the shooting of Bailey on Dec. 29.

The two officers were dispatched to the Comfort Inn in Bradley at about 9:40 p.m. that night to check on a complaint of a barking dog left in a vehicle.

According to Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe’s account of police body camera footage, the officers were shot after checking on the hotel room where Harris and Sullivan were staying.

Rittmanic died of her injuries on Dec. 30, and Bailey was severely wounded. He is still hospitalized but was recently moved out of intensive care. He was in stable condition as of Jan. 22, according to the latest statement released by his family.

Harris and Sullivan were both indicted by the Kankakee County grand jury on Jan. 20. Rowe added three counts of misdemeanor endangering the life or health of a child to the indictments.

On the night of the shooting, Harris told the two officers she had children in the hotel room, according to body cam audio and video obtained from each officer.

Harris and Sullivan are both being held at the Kankakee County jail without bond.

Harris appeared via video Thursday for her arraignment with representation by Chicago attorney Cierra Norris. Harris entered a plea of not guilty and is scheduled to be back in court on Monday.

“I will do an initial investigation of the material I received over the weekend,” Norris explained to Judge Elliott and Rowe in asking for a quick court date. “That will give me time to see what I need to do in regard to subpoenas, asking for further evidence and filing motions.”

Harris did not speak during her appearance.

Investigation update

Rowe said that the investigation continues into the incident on Dec. 29 by not only his office and the Illinois State Police but also Indiana authorities as Sullivan was arrested in Wabash County, Indiana. Rowe said Indiana is investigating the possible involvement of two of Sullivan’s relatives in his elusion of police during a manhunt following the incident in Bradley.

Rowe contacted the U.S. Attorney General’s office to review the cases of Sullivan and Harris for federal murder charges and pursue a federal sentence of death against both defendants. Rowe said he did not have an update on that request.

Although Illinois is not a death penalty state, the U.S. Attorney General can authorize the filing of a petition to seek the death penalty in a federal murder case under certain circumstances, according to Rowe.

The State’s Attorney will also seek life sentences for both Sullivan and Harris as the existing state-level charges proceed.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366.

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