A 36-year-old Illinois man charged with hiding a corpse and first-degree intentional homicide has pleaded not guilty for allegedly killing a 14-year-old girl back in 1997. According to Racine news, the charges stemmed from a recent match of the man's fingerprints with latent fingerprints that were reportedly recovered from a plastic garbage bag that was used to asphyxiate the teenager. This bag was found on the girl's head when her body was discovered in a marsh in the Karcher Wildlife Area.
The teenager was sexually assaulted and beaten before being choked and suffocated with the plastic bag. Records indicate that the girl also received bite marks on the side of her neck, as well as blunt-force trauma to her face.
Investigators have stated that the girl was an Illinois runaway who was a ward of the state and lived in Palatine, which is reportedly the same area that the man lived in. Her body was discovered partially undressed in the wildlife preserve on February 9, 1007 by hunters; however, her remains were not identified until over a year later.
A pretrial conference has been set for May 30, 2014 in Racine County Court District. If convicted of the homicide charge, which is a Class A felony, the man could face a mandatory life sentence.
Violent crimes such as homicide and sexual assault can have long-term consequences for a defendant that could result in a lengthy prison sentence. An experienced Wisconsin criminal attorney may be able to assist in averting this type of penalty and could work to ensure that a defendant is treated fairly.
Source: Madison.com, "Illinois man pleads not guilty to 1997 slaying of teen in Racine County" Kristen Zambo, Apr. 30, 2014