Galva murder case likely headed to November trial

Robert Connelly, GateHouse Media Illinois

Needing more time for forensic evidence, prosecutors were granted a continuance in the Galva murder case.

Knox County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Kerr sought, and was granted, that continuance off of the September jury trial calendar as “a number of pieces of evidence are still at the lab,” he told Circuit Associate Judge Anthony Vaupel.

Defense Attorney Todd Ringel had answered ready for trial and the continuance was granted over his objection.

James E. Love, 59, Knox Road 2000E in Galva, is charged with first-degree murder and two shooting offenses related to the June 19 shooting death of Xavier Hartman, 19, in rural Galva near Love’s residence. It is expected that Ringel will argue that Love acted in self-defense.

The shooting occurred after a scuffle between the two Galva men after Hartman crashed his truck in a ditch along Knox Road 2000E near the Knox-Henry County line about 300 yards from Love’s residence in Knox County.

More than two dozen people crammed into one of the smaller courtrooms on the second floor of the Courthouse for the pretrial hearing Tuesday morning. A person believed to be with the Hartman family had a large framed photo of Hartman in dress clothes which was held as the hearing progressed.

A pretrial hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 2 with a likely jury trial to follow the week of Nov. 19. Also happening at the Nov. 2 hearing will be at least one motion over whether or not certain evidence will be allowed in at trial.

Robert Connelly: (309) 343-7181, ext. 266;; @RConnelly_