Another fitness hearing scheduled for Hefner

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For the second time, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) has returned Justin Hefner to Edgar County custody with the declaration the defendant is competent to stand trial.

Hefner appeared in custody Monday, July 8, before Judge David W. Lewis who asked Edgar County State’s Attorney Mark Isaf and public defender William McGrath how they wished to proceed with the DHS finding. McGrath asked for a fitness hearing before the court and the matter was continued to Aug. 19,

Hefner was arrested Feb. 17, 2018, when he appeared at the Edgar County Jail dressed in body armor, a partially obscured badge and what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol in a chest holster attached to the bullet proof vest.

He claimed to be a federal agent in town to make arrests and requested the assistance of deputies in that task. After convincing Hefner to leave the pistol in a lockbox and enter the jail to discuss the arrests, the deputies placed him under arrest without incident.

His arrest documents turned out to be lists of names written on lined notebook paper, and the pistol was a BB gun. A search of his vehicle, which was equipped with emergency-style flashing lights, revealed an AR-15 rifle with modifications to increase the rate of fire nearing an automatic weapon. Similar modifications were used by the Las Vegas shooter in 2017 that allowed the discharge of more than 1,100 rounds and resulted in 58 deaths and another 400 people wounded by gunfire. A fully loaded 100-round drum magazine was found in the car along with other high-capacity magazines.

The badges Hefner had in his possession are security officer badges easily obtained over the Internet. They have no connection to any federal law enforcement agency.

Hefner had continued to insist he is a federal agent for the Department of Defense and his arrest is an illegal action hampering a federal investigation. He has filed multiple letters with the court insisting he be released and all of those involved with keeping him detained be charged with treason.

In May 2018, the court determined Hefner was unfit to stand trial and remanded him to the custody of DHS for treatment. DHS returned him to Edgar County in March 2019 with a finding the defendant was competent. Hefner’s continued insistence at that time that he is a federal agent prompted another independent review of his capacity, which ruled he was incapable of standing trial.

The court sent Hefner back to DHS in March and he is again in the Edgar County Jail with a DHS ruling he can stand trial.