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Psychiatrist chosen for Sucher mental evaluation

MOUNT CARROLL – A mental evaluation of the man accused of beating a DCFS worker should be done within about a month, his attorney said Friday.

Both sides have agreed to use the services of Dr. Joel Eckert of Peoria. His evaluation will help determine, among other things, if Andrew Sucher is fit to stand trial, is able to aid in his own defense, and was sane at the time of the attack of which he is accused.

Sucher, 25, of Rock Falls, was indicted Dec. 7 on charges of attempted first-degree murder, which carries at least 6 to 30 years in prison, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, and aggravated battery of a state employee, each of which carries 2 to 5 years in prison.

He's accused of kicking Pam Knight, 59, of Dixon, in the head so severely on Sept. 29 that he fractured her skull, causing permanent brain damage that also has led to severe physical disabilities.

He's also charged with aggravated battery of a peace officer. Officials say he was being moved to another cell in the Carroll County Jail around 3:40 p.m. Dec. 19 when he became "verbally combative" and punched Chief Deputy Craig Dimmick in the face.

Sucher now is being housed in Stephenson County Jail, where, all told, his bond is set at $275,000.

Eckert will interview him at the Freeport facility, said Sucher's public defender, Colleen M. Buckwalter. A hearing on Eckert's report, and on the status of his second case, was set for 1:15 p.m. Feb. 23.

Knight worked out of the Sterling Department of Children and Family Services office. Her husband, Don, and various DCFS workers have attended every Carroll County hearing.

​Sucher also has pleaded not guilty in Whiteside County to aggravated battery of a child, which carries 2 to 5 years in prison, and battery, domestic battery, and interfering with the reporting of a domestic battery, all misdemeanors.

He is accused of dragging a 6-year-old by the foot and striking him in the face with a squirt gun, and of throwing a woman against a wall and taking her phone in a July 29 incident.

He was out on bond in that case when Knight was attacked at Sucher's parents' Milledgeville home, where she had arrived to take a 2-year-old boy into protective custody as a result of the Whiteside charges.​

That case is on hold while the Carroll County case proceeds.


Pam Knight is at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she is undergoing physical and other therapy.

She cannot yet communicate.

According to postings by her daugtter on the online journal, Caring Bridge:

Among other things, Pam is working on being able to track people and objects with her eyes, and to look at yes and no cards to answer questions.

She's on medication to help manage muscle spasms, contracture and rigidity, and her legs are in casts to help her contracted muscle to rebuild strength. The casts also helps with weight-bearing – Pam doesn't move independently but when her therapists put her in a standing frame or on a tilt table, her ankles must be able to bear her weight.

Go to to follow her progress.


A fund has been established at Sterling Federal Bank to help defray the Knights' medical and other expenses, which includes the cost of rehabbing their Dixon home to accommodate her needs once she is allowed to come home.

Donations can be dropped off at any branch, or mailed to 413 N. Galena Ave., Dixon, IL 61021, or to 110 E. Fourth St., Sterling, IL 61081, attention:Tessa.

Please put on behalf of Pam Knight in the memo field.

Cards and well-wishes can be sent to Pamela Sue Knight at the Department of Child and Family Services District Office, 2607 Woodlawn Road, Sterling IL 61081.

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