- Editor’s Note: Public safety among the top concerns of Kane County residents, and providing a criminal justice system is one of the important functions of Kane County government. Kane County Connects posts this weekly roundup to help residents stay informed on what’s happening “in the courts.”
The following is a roundup of Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office news releases from Thursday, March 23, 2017, through Thursday, March 30, 2017.
ELGIN MAN GUILTY GETS 15 YEARS FOR POSSESSING 1KG COCAINE
March 28, 2017
A Kane County judge has sent an Elgin man to prison for possessing a large amount of cocaine he planned to sell.
Associate Judge Linda Abrahamson sentenced 51-year-old Carlos Garcia-Perez to a period of 15 years’ imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Judge Abrahamson convicted Garcia-Perez on Jan. 20, 2017, of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class X felony.
Kane County prosecutors presented evidence that Garcia-Perez made arrangements to sell a kilogram of cocaine to a police informant for $27,000 at a specific time and location. On March 23, 2013, while Garcia-Perez was a passenger in a car that was en route to the location to complete the transaction, Carpentersville police stopped the vehicle to serve a search warrant. They found hidden in the car the kilogram of cocaine.
According to Illinois law, Garcia-Perez must serve at least 75 percent of the sentence. He receives credit for 1,476 days served in the Kane county jail, where he had been held since his arrest in lieu of $200,000 bail. Bond was revoked upon conviction.
In addition, Judge Abrahamson ordered Garcia-Perez to pay a fine of $46,400, which is what she determined to be the value of the cocaine.
Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Kelly M. Orland and Bianca Camargo prosecuted the case.
AURORA MAN GUILTY OF KILLING GIRLFRIEND IN 2014
VICTIM SHOT THREE TIMES IN DOMESTIC DISPUTE
March 27, 2017
An Aurora man will live out most of his life in prison for fatally shooting his girlfriend near his home in 2014 after a dispute.
A Kane County jury today convicted Christopher M. Whetstone, 49, of first-degree murder in the Jan. 13, 2014, shooting death of 22-year-old Rachel Taylor of Aurora. In addition, the jury found that Whetstone personally fired the gun that led to Taylor’s death.
The jurors deliberated for less than two hours before they reached the verdict.
Kane County prosecutors presented evidence during the 11-day trial that the evening of Jan. 13, 2014, Taylor had driven to Whetstone’s home to let him see the two children they had together. As they were outside in the 500 block of Charles Street, they began to argue over a cell phone.
At about 8:25 p.m., Whetstone shot Taylor in the chest, and Taylor exited the vehicle yelling, “He shot me, he shot me!” Taylor ran away from Whetstone, and Whetstone followed and shot her twice in the abdomen.
As Taylor lay on the driveway, Whetstone fled on foot. He was arrested by Aurora police about 10 minutes later a few blocks from the scene. Whetstone said, “You got me, you got me,” and then asked for a cigarette, saying it was the last one he would smoke for a while.
Taylor was taken to Presence Mercy Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Circuit Judge John A. Barsanti set Whetstone’s next court appearance for 1:30 p.m. May 12, 2017, for motions and to set a sentencing date. Whetstone faces a sentence of between 45 years’ and life imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Judge Barsanti revoked Whetstone’s bond upon conviction. Whetstone had been held in the Kane County jail since his arrest in lieu of $2 million bail.
“Rachel wanted to end their relationship. Mr. Whetstone responded by killing her. In doing so he committed the ultimate act of domestic violence. In this case, as in too many others, the horrific outcome of the domestic dispute was amplified because two children will grow up without their parents,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said.
“Thanks to all at the Aurora Police Department for their work in this case, from the officers who apprehended Mr. Whetstone within 10 minutes of the shooting to those who worked so hard in preparing this case for trial.”
Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Salvatore LoPiccolo and Alexander Bederka prosecuted the case.
BARTLETT MAN WITH CRIMINAL PAST GETS PRISON FOR BURGLARIES
March 27, 2017
A Bartlett man who has a 30-year felony history will return to prison for twice burglarizing a St. Charles business.
Circuit Judge Donald M. Tegeler on Friday, March 24, 2017, sentenced 49-year-old David A. Neal to 13 years’ imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Judge Tegeler convicted Neal on Jan. 4, 2017, of two counts of burglary (Class 2 felony,) and two counts of retail theft (Class 3 felony.)
Kane County prosecutors presented evidence that at about 1:20 a.m. Dec. 10, 2015, Neal entered a large retail establishment in the 800 block of South Randall Road, St. Charles, placed 40 bottles of men’s and women’s fragrances into a cart. He then placed the items into white plastic shopping bags and left the store without paying. The total value of the items was more than $1,900.
Neal was wearing a cap and sunglasses at the time. The incident was recorded on video surveillance.
Six weeks later, at about 12:30 a.m. Jan. 24, 2016, Neal entered the same St. Charles retail establishment, placed 14 bottles of women’s cologne into a cart. He then placed the items into white plastic shopping bags and left the store without paying. The total value of the items was more than $1,100. Neal was wearing a cap and sunglasses at the time. The incident was recorded on video surveillance.
On Feb. 4, 2016, Neal committed a retail theft at a large retail establishment in Bloomingdale, where he was caught and charged. St. Charles police were able to identify Neal as the suspect in the Dec. 10 and Jan. 24 incidents.
Neal has been charged with a variety of felony offenses in the Chicago area, including multiple residential burglaries, at least 25 times since he committed his first felony in the late 1980s. He has been sentenced to IDOC at least 10 times previously.
According to Illinois law, Neal is eligible for day-for-day credit. He was given credit for 255 days served in the Kane County jail.
The case was prosecuted by Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Dawn Troost and Laura Maglio.
TEXAS MAN GETS 45 YEARS FOR MURDERING ILLINOIS GRANDMOTHER
KILLING WAS CULMINATION OF 14-HOUR, 900-MILE DRIVE + SCHEME DRIVEN BY GREED
March 23, 2017
A former East Dundee man who murdered his grandmother in her home to expedite his inheritance likely will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Kane County Associate Judge Linda Abrahamson today sentenced 44-year-old Rich A. Schmelzer, of Frisco, Texas, to 45 years’ imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
A Kane County jury on Dec. 20, 2016, convicted Schmelzer of first-degree murder in the July 2014 stabbing death of his grandmother, 85-year-old Mildred “Dodie” Darrington of East Dundee.
Kane County prosecutors presented a detailed trail of evidence during the trial that Schmelzer had become deeply in debt as a result of a lavish lifestyle involving female escorts and other extravagances that were well beyond his means. The lifestyle left him unable to pay his family’s bills and their home was in foreclosure.
Schmelzer at the time was married with four daughters. He failed to make a mortgage payment for more than four years. Deeply in debt, he asked family members for loans but was rebuffed. Schmelzer, who was co-executor of Mildred’s estate and a beneficiary of her trust, began to transfer money from her credit cards.
Schmelzer stood to inherit half of Mildred’s $800,000 estate, and plotted in mid-July 2014 to drive from Texas to the Chicago area to murder her.
He convinced a cousin rent a car in the cousin’s name, he used a prepaid gift card to cover his trip expenses and he purchased a cell phone for use on the trip. Meantime, Schmelzer told his wife that he would be attending a conference in the Dallas area.
He later obtained from a restaurant he frequented near his home a receipt that was marked with a date and time corresponding to his trip to Illinois, although he was not at the restaurant during the noted time and date. He also convinced an acquaintance to send him an email implying they had eaten lunch together at a time when Schmelzer was actually driving back to Texas.
On July 17, 2014, Schmelzer began the 14-hour, 924-mile drive from Frisco to East Dundee. Early the morning of July 18, he arrived at Mildred’s East Dundee home, let himself in, then stabbed Mildred in the neck as she was in her bed, killing her.
Later that day when Mildred failed to show up for her regular hair appointment, her hairdresser went to her home, found her unresponsive in her bed, and immediately called 911. When East Dundee police arrived at Mildred’s home, they found her dead.
Schmelzer was arrested a month later and charged with first-degree murder.
According to Illinois law, Schmelzer must serve 100 percent of the sentence. He receives credit for 926 days served in the Kane County jail.
Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said:
“This sentence reflects the serious and premeditated nature of this cold-blooded murder, as well as the hard work of the many, many people whose efforts brought Mr. Schmelzer to justice.
“I find it stunning – unnerving – that Mr. Schmelzer was so desperate to continue a lifestyle he couldn’t afford that he killed his own grandmother – his mother’s mother – to be able to feed his greedy, gluttonous pursuits. Equally unnerving is that he put so much effort into his attempt to cover up his crime. Yet despite all of that effort, Mr. Schmelzer still had plenty of opportunities to reconsider his deadly scheme. He passed more than 100 exits on his 900-mile, 14-hour journey from Texas. He could have turned back at any of them.
“My thanks to all who had a hand in this prosecution: Assistant State’s Attorneys Bill Engerman, Lori Schmidt and Kelley Flinn, the East Dundee Police Department, the Kane County Major Crimes Task Force, the Frisco Police Department, the U.S. Marshal Service and the Texas Rangers.”
WISCONSIN LIMO DRIVER PLEADS GUILTY IN I-90 FATAL CRASH
CAR FLIPPED AFTER HITTING BARRICADE IN ELGIN; FIVE OTHER PASSENGERS INJURED
March 23, 2017
A Wisconsin man has pleaded guilty for unlawfully driving a limousine that crashed on Interstate 90 in Kane County, Ill., leaving a passenger dead.
Aaron T. Nash, 21, agreed to a sentence of two years’ probation in exchange for a guilty plea to violation of motor carrier safety law by driver, a Class 4 felony.
Associate Judge Linda Abrahamson accepted the plea.
Kane County prosecutors presented evidence at the hearing that at approximately 7:15 a.m. March 25, 2016, Nash was the driver of a 1998 Lincoln Limousine on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (Interstate 90) in Kane County, Ill. Nash was not lawfully licensed to drive the limousine in that he was not at least 21 years old.
The eastbound limousine, owned by Edgerton, WI-based Lyons Limousine, LLC, was carrying six passengers when it collided with a crash attenuator between milepost 55 and milepost 56 and flipped onto its roof, killing 53-year-old Terri E. Schmidt of Monona, WI. The other five passengers and Nash suffered various injuries in the crash.
Nash had been free on $1,500 bond.
The Illinois State Police investigated the crash. Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Lori Anderson prosecuted the case.