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updated: 1/17/2013 6:18 PM

Vernon Hills man says police violated his rights

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  • Ronald Stolberg

    Ronald Stolberg


Defense attorneys for a Vernon Hills man accused of killing his wife in June 2011 argued in court Thursday that Ronald Stolberg was denied his rights before being questioned by police.

That questioning led police to charge Stolberg, now 49, with first-degree murder of Rachel Stolberg, 54. If found guilty, he could spend 60 years in prison.

Ronald Stolberg was initially free on $3 million bond, but he was sent back to jail in September 2012 after he intentionally cut off his ankle monitoring device.

Defense attorneys have argued Ronald Stolberg was not read his Miranda rights and was not allowed to have an attorney present while being questioned about his wife's death on June 7, 2011.

Attorneys will also argue in front of Lake County Judge Mark Levitt to suppress a confession Ronald Stolberg made to police that he suffocated his wife for poking him while he was trying to sleep.

Vernon Hills Police Officer Art Fink, who was called to investigate a death at the Stolberg home in the 300 block of Farmington Lane, testified Ronald Stolberg said he thought his wife was fake sleeping on the floor when he left for work in the morning, but that she hadn't moved and was discovered dead when he came home that evening.

Stolberg later claimed his wife angered him when she poked him awake three times in the middle of the night, Fink testified.

Fink said Stolberg admitted to police he grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her to the living room, where he took her to the ground, and ended up on top of her.

Authorities said previously that action cut off her ability to breathe.

Defense attorney William Hedrick of Arlington Heights asked whether Fink had read Stolberg his Miranda rights prior to the questioning. Fink said he had not done so at that point because it was a death investigation and Stolberg was not charged with a crime.

Hedrick also said Rachel Stolberg was on medication for depression, had stopped speaking with Ronald Stolberg prior to their fight June 7, and had left little notes throughout the townhouse to communicate with him.

"Did you know that the dead woman discussed having conversations with angels in her diary," Hedrick said. "Also, did you see any books in the home about the coming end of the world?"

It's unknown when Levitt is expected to make a decision as to whether Ronald Stolberg's rights were violated.

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