Edward Klein, right, has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery in the shooting of an Amtrak conductor at the Naperville train station, according to police. (AP / Naperville Police Department photos)
The Wisconsin man charged with shooting an Amtrak conductor will be back in court Thursday, where his attorneys are seeking to have him examined to evaluate his mental fitness.
According to court files, the public defender representing Edward Klein has filed a motion requesting the evaluation. The matter will be up Thursday before DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin.
Klein, 79, who resided in an independent living center in suburban Milwaukee, has been in custody since last week, when he was charged with the attempted murder of Michael Case, a Homewood resident who was shot once as he stood on the rail platform at the downtown Naperville station.
Case required emergency surgery and was initially listed in critical condition, but his status has been upgraded to serious, Edward Hospital spokesperson Keith Hartenberger said Wednesday. At Klein’s bond hearing last week, prosecutors said the bullet fired by Klein struck Case in the torso and damaged his internal organs.
Klein was traveling May 16 from Kansas City back to Milwaukee and, according to authorities, tried to get off the train at its scheduled stop in Naperville. But Amtrak personnel, aware that Klein needed to switch trains at Union Station in order to return home, closed the train’s door to prevent from leaving.
The retired federal law enforcement agent then retrieved a revolver he was carrying before leaning out a train window and shooting Case, authorities said.
"I had built up all this anger, and I blew him away," Klein reportedly told police.
Other passengers said Klein had exhibited disturbing behavior prior to the shooting and had caused a disturbance in Kansas City when the Chicago-bound train was late getting into the station.
At his bond hearing Friday, Klein seemed unable to grasp the nature and severity of the situation. He said several times that he would be leaving the following day, and he turned down the services of the public defender’s office, saying he would not need counsel because he would be going.
The judge, however, appointed the public defender’s office to represent Klein, who is being held in lieu of $1.5 million bail.
If Klein were to be examined and found to be mentally unfit, he would likely be sent to a secure facility, like the Elgin Mental Health Center, to receive treatment. The court would receive periodic updates on his condition, and if doctors later determined that Klein was mentally fit, then the criminal court proceedings against him would proceed.
Clifford Ward is a freelance reporter.