A Beach Park man accused of the stabbing death of a woman in a Zion industrial park pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Lake County circuit court.
Derrick Taylor, 38, faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Joy Lee, 48.
Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix said Lee, of Salem, Wis., was a longtime acquaintance of Taylor, who lived in a trailer park in the 38000 block of North Sheridan Road.
A security officer at the Trumpet Industrial Park found Lee's body on the ground outside her own car just before 9 p.m. on March 11 and called police.
Detectives from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force found several text messages on Lee's phone that were sent to "Derrick" and traced the phone number to Taylor.
They went to Taylor's residence to question him, but were unable to locate him.
However, they did find Taylor's Chevrolet Blazer parked inside a garage at another trailer in the park and obtained a search warrant for the vehicle after they saw blood on the steering wheel.
Taylor was later located at his residence, and police found blood in the sink, shower and washing machine inside.
Fix said preliminary DNA testing matched the blood found in the Blazer and the sink at Taylor's residence to Lee.
Taylor denied any involvement in Lee's killing when questioned, police said.
Associate Judge Theodore Potkonjak scheduled a trial of the case for May 7. He ordered Taylor, who is held on $3 million bond, to appear in court April 12.