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DCFS worker still in a coma; trial set for accused attacker

Andrew Sucher, 25, of Rock Falls sits with his attorney, Michelle Buckwalter-Schurman, at a pretrial hearing Friday morning at the Carroll County Courthouse in Mount Carroll. Sucher has pleaded not guilty to felony aggravated battery; he is accused of kicking and beating a DCFS worker on Sept. 29, leaving her with brain injuries.  His next pretrial hearing is Dec. 18.
Andrew Sucher, 25, of Rock Falls sits with his attorney, Michelle Buckwalter-Schurman, at a pretrial hearing Friday morning at the Carroll County Courthouse in Mount Carroll. Sucher has pleaded not guilty to felony aggravated battery; he is accused of kicking and beating a DCFS worker on Sept. 29, leaving her with brain injuries. His next pretrial hearing is Dec. 18.

MOUNT CARROLL – The DCFS worker who suffered severe head injuries after being kicked and beaten more than a month ago remains in a coma, her husband said Monday morning after a hearing in which a trial date was set for her accused attacker.

Six weeks later, Pamela Sue Knight, 59, of Dixon, still is “in very critical condition” at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, as her husband, Don Knight, her children and the rest of her family struggle to come to terms with their new reality.

“It is my understanding at this time that my wife will require medical assistance and equipment to support her for the remainder of her life,” Knight said in a short statement given to reporters after the hearing.

“I don’t want the world to ever forget Pamela Sue Knight, a special wife, mother and very devoted DCFS worker who was brutally beaten Sept. 29,” he wrote.

Andrew Sucher, 25, of Rock Falls, is in Carroll County Jail on $200,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty Oct. 6 to aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, and aggravated battery of a state employee, each of which carries 2 to 5 years in prison.

Through his appointed attorney, Colleen Buckwalter of Morrison, Sucher said he had no problem with Carroll County Judge John “Jerry” Kane, whose mother is a retired Department of Children and Family Services worker, presiding over the case.

Friday, to avoid the appearance of a potential conflict of interest, Kane gave Sucher until today to decide whether he wanted a different judge.

After both sides agreed to the gathering of Sucher’s blood, hair and saliva for DNA testing, Kane set trial for 9 a.m. Jan. 30; it is expected to last at least the duration of that week.

His next pretrial hearing is Dec. 18.

Sucher is accused of kicking and beating the child welfare investigator outside his parents’ Milledgeville home around 5:45 p.m., as she arrived to take protective custody of a 2-year-old after Sucher was charged in Whiteside County with felony aggravated battery of a child in the beating of a 6-year-old boy.

He also was charged with domestic violence in that case after he threw his girlfriend against a wall, court records show.

A jury trial has been set for Nov. 14; he is represented by Public Defender James Heuerman.

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