Dennis appears in court for first time since mistrial - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Dennis appears in court for first time since mistrial

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- A Jackson County murder suspect returns to court for the first time since a mistrial.

Robert Dennis is one of three people facing charges in the August 2016 death of Robin Stief. Police found her burned body near Piles Fork Creek in Carbondale, and investigators believe Dennis, Lauren Stinde and Tiesha Anderson beat Stief to death and dragged her body in a trash can along Route 13.

Judge William Schwartz ordered a mental fitness examination after declaring a mistrial in Dennis' case. He retired a month later and Judge Ralph Bloodworth took over.

The point of that exam is to find whether Dennis can handle another trial, but Dennis said he refuses to speak with the doctor.

Dennis is representing himself in the case and told Judge Bloodworth Thursday he doesn't want to speak with the psychiatrist because it goes against his religious beliefs. That's also why he stopped taking his medication.

"I've made it clear why I don't use psychotropic drugs: I'm a Scientologist. It's against my religion," Dennis said.

Dennis and the judge went back and forth for about an hour on a number of topics Dennis was concerned about, like how he isn't getting a speedy trial and how the court is ignoring evidence.

"I don't see how we can have a trial if its not a fair trial," Dennis said.

Judge Bloodworth repeatedly told him they have to deal with the fitness exam first.

Prosecutor Casey Bloodworth, no relation, said the psychiatrist told him the report should be complete early in January.

Judge Bloodworth scheduled another status hearing for Feb. 28.

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