Murder suspects appear in court, one suspect awaits extradition

john collins
kathleen featherstone
ben selig
john collins kathleen featherstone ben selig

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Three suspects connected to the murder of radio personality Matt Luecking appeared before a judge Friday morning.  Judge Michael Lewis read the formal charges to each, set their next hearing dates, and set bond. He also appointed each public defenders, as each said they could not afford a defense attorney.

Judge Lewis released Ben Selig at the recommendation of Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt. Modesitt told the judge they have no evidence that directly ties Selig to the murder incident, prompting the recommendation.  Selig’s charged with assisting a criminal, a level 5 felony, punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Selig cannot leave the State of Indiana.

The hearing went much differently for Kathleen Featherstone and John Collins Judge Lewis ordered them held without bond, as each face serious charges: three counts of murder, one county of burglary resulting in serious bodily injury and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.

To clarify, the three murder charges each differ slightly.  The first count strictly addresses the murder of Matt Luecking, that the defendants are accused of knowingly killing Luecking.  The second murder count accuses the defendants of killing Luecking during the commission of a burglary.  The third murder count accuses the defendants of killing Luecking during the commission of a robbery.  Modesitt said a jury may convict a defendant on none, one, two or all three of these counts.  If a defendant is convicted in more that one of these murder counts, a judge may only impose sentencing on one.  Murder carries a sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison.  Modesitt reiterated that they’re also considering asking for life in prison without parole for the defendants, and he’s not ruled out the possibility of asking for the death penalty.

Meanwhile, Don Featherstone continues to be held in the Kane County, Illinois jail.  Modesitt said Featherstone refuses to waive extradition to Indiana. At a news conference on Thursday, Modesitt told News 10 that Featherstone, a truck driver, went on his next scheduled route following the murder. That route took him to the Chicagoland area. Police in East Dundee, IL located Featherstone’s semi and that he had cut his wrists.  He was treated at St. Alexis Medical facility in Hoffman Estates, IL. Police took Featherstone to the Kane County Jail upon his release.

In this case, Modesitt requested the State of Illinois to obtain what’s called a fugitive’s warrant on Featherstone.  It’s issued by the local jurisdiction where Featherstone is located, stating that Featherstone is to be held since he is wanted in another jurisdiction (in this case, Vigo County, IN). This allows Illinois to hold Featherstone in its custody so the extradition process can begin.

From there, Modesitt will request a governor’s warrant. The governor of Indiana will request the governor of Illinois to return Featherstone for prosecution. Featherstone only returns to Indiana upon the direct order of Illinois’ governor. The local court in Illinois where Featherstone is being held will have a limited role in the extradition process.  Modesitt said it will require two hearings in Illinois.  The court will determine whether the paperwork for extradition is in order. Merit of the charges against the defendant is not a consideration in the extradition process.  It could take three to four weeks for the process to be complete.

Meanwhile, Collins returns to Vigo County Court on November 7th, Selig November 9th, and Kathleen Featherstone on November 17th, when trial dates for each will be set.