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Judge warns Crown Point teen's family to stay off social media ahead of fatal crash trial
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Judge warns Crown Point teen's family to stay off social media ahead of fatal crash trial

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CROWN POINT — An 86-year-old man charged in a crash that killed a Crown Point High School student last year has been found competent to stand trial starting Monday, attorneys said.

John P. Enright, of Monee, Illinois, was indicted by a grand jury last year on one count of reckless homicide, a level 5 felony, in connection with the May 7, 2019, crash on U.S. 231 that caused the death of 17-year-old motorcyclist Clayton Gaudry.

Enright didn't appear for the hearing alongside his attorney, Herbert Shaps.

Shaps told Lake Criminal Court Judge Samuel Cappas he doesn't use Facebook but has been told people have posted disparaging comments about him and his client on the social media platform.

Gaudry's family maintained a Justice for Clay Facebook page where comments about Enright and the case have been posted. 

Shaps said jury selection might take longer than usual because he will have to ensure potential jurors haven't been tainted by Facebook comments.

If Facebook comments taint the jury pool and the parties are unable Monday to seat a jury, it will be because of those posting on Facebook, Cappas said.

"This case is tried in the court, not on Facebook," he said. "So stop it."

Cappas warned Gaudry's family members if the Facebook comments don't stop, he will declare a mistrial and reschedule the trial for next summer. 

"Do you want that?" the judge asked. 

A Gaudry family member responded "no."

The Justice for Clay page appeared to have been deactivated following Wednesday's hearing. 

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Shaps also requested that Gaudry's family be barred from wearing clothing memorializing Gaudry because jurors might see it.

Cappas "absolutely" agreed and granted Shaps' request.

Shaps asked that the family refrain from making statements.

Cappas said, "That's not going to fly, either."

At Shaps' request, Cappas last month ordered two mental health professionals to evaluate Enright to determine if he is competent to assist in his own defense.

Cappas said both professionals concluded Enright is competent.

Shaps said Enright suffers from hearing loss.

Cappas said Enright could be fitted with a headset so he can hear proceedings during next week's trial.

Enright is accused of rear-ending Gaudry's motorcycle as Gaudry was slowing down to turn into his driveway in the 5400 block of U.S. 231. Enright, who was driving a pickup truck, told police he didn't see Gaudry's motorcycle, officials said. Gaudry died four days later at a Chicago hospital.

Shaps said he does not plan to call Enright to testify on his own behalf.

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