Relatives of Elisha Clark felt a measure of relief after her killer was sentenced Friday to 26 years behind bars.
"This is closure for us," said Clark's mother, Charolette Travis of Kenosha. "We are extremely upset over what happened, but my family can finally get closure."
Technically, Donald Mischke, 56, of Lisle, was sentenced to 26 years for killing Clark, a Grayslake resident, on Dec. 23, 2010, then another seven years for aggravated DUI, defense attorney Christopher Lombardo said Friday.
But Lombardo said the sentences will be served concurrently, and, in the end, Mischke will serve 100 percent of a total sentence of 26 years.
"This was a tragic case from all viewpoints," Lombardo said after the sentence was handed down.
Mischke attempted to delay the sentencing Friday by filing additional motions claiming Lombardo was ineffective during the trial, which concluded Jan. 4 with a guilty verdict against Mischke.
Mischke also told Lake County Judge Mark Levitt Friday that he felt the court was biased against him, that he was told by Lombardo to say things "that weren't correct," and that he perjured himself on the stand.
However, Levitt denied all motions that Mischke filed and pushed to sentence the 56-year-old.
Lombardo added that Travis gave an effective and emotional speech during her victim impact statement that could have helped persuade Levitt during sentencing.
Mischke was convicted of first-degree murder for running a red light and crashing his car into the vehicle driven by Clark, 25, on Green Bay Road and Belvidere Road.
Clark was a mother who aspired to teach children with developmental disabilities.
Lake County Assistant State's Attorneys Reginald Matthews and Mary Stanton proved during the trial that Mischke was fleeing police after an officer caught him breaking into a Waukegan Target store. The prosecutors said Mischke was fleeing police after he stole a flat-screen television, and that he had been ingesting cocaine the previous day.
Under the law, a person who kills another during the commission of a crime can be found guilty of first-degree murder.