KANKAKEE — The attorney for James Beals, who was convicted in January in the Oct. 1, 2016, murder of Ralph Ledet, said he will file a motion for a mistrial next week in Kankakee County court.

Chicago attorney Bart Beals said he will argue the motion on Feb. 20 before Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott. Bart Beals and James Beals are not related.

James Beals, 58, of Pembroke Township, was found guilty of shooting to death Ledet on Jan. 31.

Bart Beals said after the verdict, “There’s a pretty good chance we will get a new trial.”

During closing arguments, Assistant State’s Attorney Erika Hamer argued that Ledet might have set his vehicle on fire two days after Ledet was shot and killed. Police said the shooting took place in the vehicle.

Bart Beals objected and asked Bradshaw-Elliott to declare a mistrial as before the trial started, Bradshaw-Elliott granted a defense motion prohibiting prosecutors from mentioning their theory that Beals set his Ford Explorer on fire on Oct. 3, 2016, to conceal evidence. Bradshaw-Elliott denied his request.

That fire was discussed during testimony from a Kankakee County Sheriff’s detective.

A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.

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