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Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:01 am

Troubled man contacts judge

Mental health an issue

 A Springfield man is being evaluated for mental issues after he went to the home of Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Leslie Graves and otherwise made unwanted contact with the judge.

Graves had presided over a driving under the influence case of Tyler Dixon, 30, until April of last year, when the judge recused herself after receiving a bouquet of flowers and a card from the defendant. Last October, Dixon gave a note to an employee at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on East Lawrence Avenue, asking the employee to arrange a meeting with the judge so he could talk with Graves.

“She could also send an escort,” Dixon wrote. “Somewhere comfortable of her choice.”

Dixon had also sent Graves a note via his attorney, according to a Springfield police report. Sangamon County sheriff’s deputies met with Dixon shortly after he left the note at the church and told him that he should not contact the judge. In December, Judge Patrick Kelley ordered a fitness examination to determine Dixon’s mental state, but it is not clear from court records whether an examination was completed at that time or what the results of any examination might have been.

On April 10, Dixon, who was free on bond, showed up at the judge’s doorstep shortly before 6:20 p.m. Graves told Springfield police that she didn’t recognize Dixon until he told her his name. He wanted to talk to the judge about his pending DUI case and possibly ask her out on a date, according to a court affidavit from a Springfield police officer. Graves told police that she pointed out that a large dog was in the house and told Dixon to leave at least 10 times, but he remained at her door, pretending to talk to the dog. She told police that she felt “very threatened” by Dixon’s presence.

Dixon finally left, but the judge found a white plastic bag on her driveway the next morning that contained a graduation cap and gown, a graduation announcement from Lincoln Land Community College, a rosary, a sculpture depicting the Last Supper and a handwritten signed note from Dixon, who asked Graves to attend his graduation. In the note, Dixon wrote that he was from Germany and had a worth of $7.5 million. He also gave his address.

“If you ever need me to do anything for you, let me know,” Dixon wrote. “It means alot (sic) to me. … You can talk to me. I am a great person. Please visit with me. I am here for you. This is the last time I will stop by.”

There is no evidence that Dixon threatened Graves, but she told police that she was “highly concerned for the safety of both her and her family,” according to a Springfield police report. She obtained an order of protection against Dixon shortly after he visited her home.

“It appears that Dixon is quite enamored by (Graves),” an officer wrote.

Springfield police arrested Dixon outside his apartment the same day Graves found the bag in her driveway. His mother told police that she believes her son has mental issues but he does not think that he has a problem and has not received mental health treatment. He was jailed on suspicion of trespassing and disorderly conduct, and bond, which had been set at $175,000 in the underlying felony DUI case, was increased to $500,000 according to court records.

After Dixon’s arrest, Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Kelley again ordered a mental fitness examination. Dixon was found unfit to stand trial and did not like the result. He objected when a public defender stipulated to the finding that he was unfit and said that he would hire a private attorney during a May 21 hearing. Ed Parkinson, a special prosecutor with the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s office who has been assigned the case, said that Dixon was talking and rambling in open court during the May hearing.

“It was bizarre, to say the least,” Parkinson said. “His own attorney thought there were some issues of concern.”

Dixon appeared in court again last week and was found unfit for trial on both the felony aggravated DUI charge and misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing stemming from his contact with Graves. He is being held at McFarland Mental Health Center and is due in court again in October.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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