Richard A. Henderson, accused of the January killing of a Bureau County teen, announced in court Thursday afternoon he's decided to waive his right to a jury trial.
He'll instead face the decision of a lone judge during his trial, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 17.
Henderson, 26, of Standard, is charged with three counts of murder for the death of 16-year-old Diamond Bradley of Spring Valley. She was last seen by her family on Jan. 23, was reported missing the next day, and was found stabbed to death alongside a rural Putnam County road on Jan. 27.
Henderson was taken into custody on Feb. 5 after investigators linked him to Bradley through interviews, surveillance footage and cellphone data.
During Thursday's status hearing in Putnam County Court, Judge Stephen A. Kouri asked Henderson whether he understood the constitutional right he was waiving; that he wouldn't be able to reverse the decision; and that he might also end up facing a different judge.
"Yes, sir," Henderson answered.
The prosecution and defense agreed on a deadline of Oct. 15 to file motions. They also scheduled a Nov. 1 status hearing and a Nov. 15 motions hearing.
Public defender Roger Bolin said after the hearing that he felt having a bench trial was appropriate considering the case, but he wouldn't elaborate.
Putnam County State's Attorney Christina Judd-Mennie said the prosecution was well prepared for either a bench or jury trial and that there's "an abundance of evidence." She also expects the trial to last only three to four days.
Henderson was initially charged with concealment of a homicidal death, a Class 3 felony with a sentencing range of two to five years. However, Roger Bolin, the public defender who is representing Henderson, successfully got that charge dropped during a Sept. 6 status hearing.
Bolin argued the 120-day limit of the Speedy Trial Act has been exceeded, and Putnam County State's Attorney Christina Judd-Mennie agreed to drop the charge to focus on the murder charges.
The three additional first-degree murder charges were entered on Aug. 30, and each carries concurrent $1 million bonds with 10 percent to apply. If convicted, Henderson faces 20 years to life in prison with each felony charge, and would have to serve 100 percent of his sentence.
Henderson previously entered pleas of not guilty on all counts.