Attorney: Man charged with shooting Ill. pastor has Lyme disease

Terry Sedlacek's mental condition was deteriorating as a result of Lyme disease, his attorney said Monday within hours of Sedlacek being charged with murdering a pastor.

The attorney also issued an apology Monday on behalf of the suspect's family.

"They’re very sorry for the pastor's congregation," said Edwardsville defense attorney Ron Slemer, who has been hired by Terry Sedlacek’s family to represent him. “They want to express this sympathy for everyone.

Slemer said Sedlacek's family is "very sorry for the loss of Rev. Winters."

The Rev. Fred Winters, the pastor of First Baptist Church Maryville, was shot to death Sunday morning during a worship service. Sedlacek has been charged with murdering him and stabbing two congregation members who subdued him.

Slemer said Sedlacek has Lyme disease from getting bit by a tick several years ago, and that his physical and mental health have suffered as a result.

"That's what it's all attributed to so far. You can see how he's deteriorated over the years. They've struggled with this," Slemer said. "I just know that it's caused his body to physically deteriorate and also his mental condition."

Slemer said he's personally known Sedlacek's family for several years and described them as "wonderful people." He said Sedlacek’s family spent Sunday evening with a pastor.

"The family came together in their grief, in their sadness," the attorney said. "They’re good families, great people. It’s a great tragedy."

Slemer said Sedlacek remained hospitalized, but that his injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Church members continued struggling with their emotions today, and said they're praying for Winters' family.

"We also pray for the man who shot Pastor Fred," said congregation member James Groves of Belleville. "Pastor Fred would want him to come to a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ so that he too would be changed and would feel the love and warmth of his Savior's embrace. God is sovereign over this tragedy."

Sedlacek had enough ammunition with him to kill 30 people at Sunday services, prosecutors said Monday.

Madison County State's Attorney Bill Mudge said Sedlacek had three magazines with 10 rounds each for the .45 Glock he carried into First Baptist Church of Maryville Sunday. His gun jammed after his fourth shot. He also had a knife.

Sedlacek is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery. He is being held without bail on the indictment filed Monday in Madison County Circuit Court.

Mudge confirmed other weapons were confiscated from the home, but declined to comment on Sedlacek’s possible mental state.

"We'll have to see what happens with his medical condition," Mudge said.

Mudge said that Sedlacek was a hunter and had previously held a firearm permit, but officials are still investigating the current status of his permit. There were no prior acts of violence on Sedlacek's record, he said.

Mudge called the shooting a "horrible tragedy."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families," Mudge said.


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