Spectator attorney asks judge to dismiss Venezia wrongful death case

Amelia Flood May 3, 2010, 2:00pm


Belleville attorney Timothy Wiltsie asked St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young to dismiss a wrongful death suit against the estate of Thomas Venezia and Robert Staack on Monday, for lack of prosecution.

Wiltsie was a spectator at a case management conference in a case brought by the parents of Jennifer Anderson, who was murdered in Belleville in 2005.

Young asked Wiltsie about his presence in the gallery at the beginning of the hearing.

Wiltsie said that he wanted attorney William Berry of Belleville to admit he represented Michael and Cynthia Anderson of Belleville. He also asked Young to dismiss the case.

Wiltsie refused to say who he represented and did not enter his appearance in the case.

He later left the court room.

Jennifer Anderson was found dead in the home she shared with Venezia from a gunshot wound. Venezia also died from a gun shot wound. The Belleville Police Department ruled the deaths a murder-suicide.

The Andersons contend that Staack gave Venezia the gun used in the shootings.

Neither defendant has been served since the case was filed in 2007.

The Andersons are currently seeking new representation in their suit.

St. Louis attorney James Schottel Jr. and Berry have represented the Andersons.

Schottel filed to withdraw from representing the Andersons last September, citing his wheel chair-bound status and staffing issues as reasons to drop the case.

Although Young has ordered Schottel to repay a $1,600 retainer to the Andersons, Schottel has not done so.

After missing several hearings, Young allowed Schottel to withdraw if he repaid the retainer fee. Young entered that order in January.

Via telephone conference, Young denied Schottel's later plea to reconsider the order.

Schottel then filed a writ of mandamus with the Illinois Supreme Court asking that it direct Young to allow him to keep the money.

The Supreme Court rejected Schottel's plea.

Berry told Young on Monday that he did not want anything done in the case until Schottel repaid the money, which according to Berry has not happened.

Young agreed.

Young's May 3 order requires that Schottel repay the Andersons by May 13 or appear for a hearing to show cause.

Young also reset the case management conference to 9:30 a.m. on June 3.

Young asked Berry if he knew what Wiltsie's purpose had been in appearing at the hearing.

Berry indicated that he did not know.

Belleville attorney Stephen McGlynn has been advising the Andersons, although he has not entered an appearance in the case.

No attorneys have entered appearances for the defendants.

The case is St. Clair case number 07-L-359.

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