Metro-East News

Teen facing terror charges might not be fit for trial

Grandmother of terrorism suspect says he’s mentally ill, not a criminal

Debra Thomas of Godfrey says her grandson Keaun L. Cook is not a terrorist. Cook has been charged with two felonies related to terrorism. Thomas says her grandson suffers from mental health disorders.
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Debra Thomas of Godfrey says her grandson Keaun L. Cook is not a terrorist. Cook has been charged with two felonies related to terrorism. Thomas says her grandson suffers from mental health disorders.

A metro-east teenager accused of charges related to terrorism has been ordered to undergo a fitness evaluation with a doctor to see whether he can stand trial, according to a court order issued Friday.

Keaun L. Cook, 18 of Godfrey, was assigned a public defender earlier this week in a case where he faces charges of terroristic threatening and material support for terrorism.

Public Defender John Rekowski said Cook is being temporarily held without bond in the Madison County jail.

The order on Friday, signed by Judge Jennifer Hightower, read: “Based upon the Court’s observations of the defendant, the court finds that there is a bona fide doubt about the defendant’s fitness for trial. Defendant ordered to undergo fitness evaluation at the next available date.”

A bond hearing that was set for Friday afternoon was postponed pending the results of the evaluation.

Cook’s bail was set at $150,000 when he was taken into custody by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office last week.

In a joint press conference between Sheriff John Lakin and State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, authorities said Cook made a verbal threat against multiple Madison County locations.

In addition, Lakin and Gibbons said Cook and had been in contact with a known terrorist organization via electronic means.

Further information detailing the specifics of the alleged threat has not been released by authorities since Cook was charged.

Family members told a News-Democrat reporter last week that Cook suffers from a mental illness, and they did not believe the teenager was terrorist.

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons and Madison County Sheriff John Lakin announced terrorism charges against an 18-year-old Godfrey man during a press conference Thursday afternoon at the sheriff’s office in Edwardsville. Keaun L. Cook ha

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