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Article posted: 1/18/2013 5:07 PM

Elgin woman gets 20 years for pleading guilty to murder

By Susan Sarkauskas

An Elgin woman pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree murder for her role in the 2011 stabbing death of an Elgin man.

Jessica Leach, 29, of the 0-99 block of Poplar Creek Drive, agreed to a sentence of 20 years in prison. She will have to serve 100 percent of the sentence, and was given credit for 397 days spent in the Kane County jail since her arrest.

On Dec. 27, 2011, Leach and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Marvin Finklea, robbed an acquaintance of Leach, 61-year-old James Granger of Elgin, at Granger's apartment in the 0-99 block of Times Square. Leach was supposed to signal Finklea via cellphone to enter the apartment, but kept using the wrong number. Finklea eventually entered, became enraged, stabbed Granger multiple times and then set fire to his body, according to a statement from the Kane County State's Attorney's Office.

Later that day Finklea drank "a large quantity of alcohol" and ingested narcotics, the state's attorney's statement said. He then tried to hijack two vehicles. He crashed the first into a liquor store. On the second, the driver began driving off, Finklea grabbed on and was dragged, becoming injured. He was hospitalized, and died five days later. At the time, Elgin police said they suspected drugs and alcohol played roles in his death.

According to court documents, Leach stole a lottery ticket and an ashtray out of Granger's apartment.

She could have been sentenced to up to 60 years.

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