Man accused of threats to SIU-C found fit to stand trial

BENTON — A Chicago man accused of mailing violent threats to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, has been found fit to stand trial.

During a status conference on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Staci M. Yandle agreed with a psychiatrist’s assessment, finding Derrick Dawon Burns mentally capable of understanding the charges against him and assisting his lawyer in his own defense.

Lawyers for both the defense and the prosecution requested the assessment late this past year, according to court documents.

At the conference, Burns waived his right to a competency hearing and filed no objections to the psychiatrist’s evaluation.

Burns, a former SIU student, is set to stand trial in connection with violent letters he allegedly sent the university between October 2012 and September 2013 that threatened rapes, killings, pipe bombings, booby traps, arson and the use of a “deadly chemical powder.”

He was indicted in October on four counts of willfully making a bomb threat.