A Vernon Hills man accused of killing his wife pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Lake County Circuit Court.
Ronald Stolberg, 47, faces a mandatory prison sentence of 20 to 60 years if convicted of the June 8 first-degree murder of Rachel Stolberg, 54.
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Assistant State's Attorney James Newman said Stolberg told police he became enraged when his wife woke him up repeatedly on the night of June 7 and into the following morning.
Police said Stolberg admitted the two began to struggle and Stolberg eventually held his wife facedown on the floor and pushed his knee into her back.
An autopsy determined the action cut off Rachel Stolberg's ability to breathe and she died of asphyxiation.
Police said Stolberg he woke up later in the morning of June 8, went to work at his job at a Buffalo Grove electronics manufacturer and then called his mother when he returned home and saw his wife had not moved.
Stolberg's mother eventually called police and Stolberg was taken into custody without incident.
Stolberg originally told Associate Judge Theodore Potkonjak he did not understand what he was charged with or what the possible penalties were, but then responded that he did understand both questions after conferring with his attorney, Kevin Rosner of Northbrook.
Potkonjak ordered Stolberg, who is held on $3 million bond, to appear in court July 20.