Robert L. Beard, 32, of Toulon was in Stark County Circuit Court on Friday for pre-trial proceedings for his multiple burglary charges; however, Beard and his attorney Robert McBride surprised the court with a change of plans.
Beard was scheduled to have his trial start in the December 1 jury trial slate, but McBride entered a waiver on behalf of his client Friday that expressed their wish to proceed with a bench trial instead.
The difference between the two, being in a jury all 12 jurors would have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. At a bench trial, only the judge has to determine guilty on that same merit.
Beard has a total amount of bonds from the six counties equaling $710,000. There are 27+ total charges against Beard from the counties of Stark, Knox, Henry, Marshall, McDonough, and Peoria.
The bench trial for the Stark and Marshall Counties charges is set for January 9, 2015. A scheduling conference will be held on December 12.
If convicted in all counties, Beard faces decades of sentencing years to the Illinois Department of Corrections. He remains in the custody of the Stark County Sheriff’s Department under a $250,000 Stark County and $50,000 Marshall County bond.
All other additional cases set for Stark County Circuit Court jury trials were also continued or dismissed, clearing the December jury calendar.