Trial delayed for Chicago man charged with threats to SIU-C

Derrick BurnsBENTON (AP) — A federal trial has been delayed for a Chicago man accused of mailing threats of beheadings, bombings and other violence to Southern Illinois University’s Carbondale campus.

Twenty-one-year-old Derrick Dawon Burns’ trial in Benton was to have started Feb. 2. But the proceedings have been postponed until April 6 so he can undergo court-ordered testing in Missouri to assess his mental fitness.

Burns has pleaded not guilty to felony charges related to threatening mailings he allegedly sent in 2012 and 2013.

Investigators say most of the letters suggested SIU would be targeted with violence ranging from rapes to beheadings, use of pipe bombs, shooting rampages, the unleashing of “deadly chemical powder” and arson.

One mailing prompted the precautionary evacuation of the campus’ three dorms housing a combined 2,100 students.