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updated: 10/31/2012 4:15 PM

A look at Naperville's familial crimes

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  • Marilyn Lemak

      Marilyn Lemak

  • Eric Hanson

      Eric Hanson

  • Mark Lewis

      Mark Lewis

  • Chun Anderson

      Chun Anderson

 

Murder is far from an everyday occurrence in Naperville, a suburb known more for its trends than its violence. But in the last two decades, the city has seen some of the area's most gruesome familial crimes. Here's a look back:

• In March 1999, Marilyn Lemak fed peanut butter sandwiches laced with prescription drugs to her three children and then sang to them as they lost consciousness. A jury deliberated nine hours in December 2001 before finding the Naperville woman guilty of murdering 7-year-old Nicholas, 6-year-old Emily and 3-year-old Thomas. Lemak, who drugged and suffocated the children, is now serving a life sentence. Earlier this year, she granted her first interview about the killings for a French documentary. Lemak told filmmakers she was a "good mom" but seriously mentally ill. She said she has never forgiven herself.

• Chun Anderson was distraught over her crumbling marriage when she gave her then-10-year-old daughter chocolate milk laced with a potentially fatal amount of sleeping pills in July 1999. Anderson, who also took an overdose of medication, and the girl were found barely conscious inside their Naperville home by Anderson's husband the following morning. Both survived. Anderson pleaded guilty in 2003 to attempted first-degree murder and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Authorities said she took between 100 and 200 pills and gave her daughter doses of two or three pills 10 to 20 times.

• Eric Hanson shot his parents execution-style as they slept in their Naperville home in September 2005, then took their bodies to Aurora, where he fatally bludgeoned his sister Kate Hanson-Tsao and her husband Jimmy inside their home. Hanson's other sister identified him as a suspect and told police he had threatened to kill if his dad found out he took $80,000 from his parents in a credit card scheme. Hanson was sentenced to death at age 33 after a jury convicted him in 2008 of the quadruple murder. He was one of 15 inmates spared the ultimate punishment when Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty in Illinois in March. Hanson now is serving a life sentence.

• On June 8, 2011, police found 59-year-old Cathleen Lewis fatally beaten inside the Naperville townhouse she shared with her mother. Her brother, Mark Lewis of Lakemoor, was captured the following month in Pensacola, Fla. He is accused of striking his sister more than 30 times with blunt object, possibly a hammer. Family members told investigators Lewis is mentally ill, has a gambling problem, and was angered when he learned his relatives were "cutting him off" financially. Lewis, 52, has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial in Will County.

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