MOUNT CARROLL – The Rock Falls man accused of beating a DCFS worker so severely that she eventually died, punching a jail officer in the face, and manhandling a child, now is charged with beating a fellow inmate bloody.
Andrew “A.J.” Sucher, 26, was charged Wednesday with aggravated battery in a public place, punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison, and $20,000 was added to his $1,075,000 bond.
According to the probable cause affidavit, video surveillance shows Sucher attacking Dorie L. Thomas, 34, of Savanna on Tuesday afternoon while they were in a public room at the Carroll County Jail.
Thomas was sitting at a table when Sucher approached him and hit him in the face, head and body “numerous times,” leaving him “covered in blood with facial injuries,” according to the affidavit, which is a document filed by law enforcement to explain why a specific charge, in this case, aggravated battery, is sought.
Information on the motive is not provided.
Sucher was arrested around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday and arraigned at Wednesday’s hearing, where his next pretrial hearing was set for July 10.
Thomas was in the jail on a charge of aggravated fleeing police, a felony, that was filed in April. He also was convicted of aggravated battery in a public place in March 2017, and was sentenced to 3 years, also in Carroll County.
Sucher now has four open felony case pending, three in Carroll County and one in Whiteside County.
In Carroll County, he is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, as well as aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and aggravated battery of a state employee, in the Feb. 8, 2018, death of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services worker Pamela Sue Knight.
He faces at least 20 to 60 years, up to life in prison, if convicted of her murder, and 2 to 5 years each on the other charges.
According to police, he attacked the 59-year-old Knight at his parents’ house in Milledgeville on Sept. 29, 2017, as she was getting out of her car to take a 2-year-old child into DCFS custody.
Sucher kicked her in the head, fracturing her skull and causing severe brain damage; she was comatose for about 2 months after the beating and died about 5 months later of “complications of blunt force head injuries due to assault,” the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.
At the time of her death, “she could move her left finger half an inch and her neck to the right a few inches. She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t eat or swallow,” her daughter, Jennifer Hollenbeck, said in a Facebook posting.
After the attack, Knight underwent five “major surgical procedures,” and in the last few weeks was working with therapists at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago, learning to communicate using eye movements and undergoing physical therapy to help her regain movement in her arms and legs.
She died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where she was admitted 3 days before for an unspecified emergency surgery.
Sucher has a pretrial hearing in that case on June 28, which also is the deadline for either side to file any pretrial motions. A trial date of Aug. 19 has been set.
He is charged with aggravated battery of a peace officer, which carries 3 to 7 years, because, as he was being moved to another cell in the Carroll County Jail on Dec. 19, 2017, he became “verbally combative” and punched Chief Deputy Craig Dimmick in the face, officials said. His bond in that case is $75,000.
He is charged in Whiteside County Court with aggravated battery of a child, which carries 2 to 5 years, and battery, domestic battery, and interfering with the reporting of a domestic battery, all misdemeanors.
He also is accused there 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, 2017, incident.
He was out on bond in that case when investigators said he attacked Knight.
The Whiteside County case is on hold while the Carroll County cases proceed.