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Article updated: 4/23/2013 6:06 PM

Elgin fatal stabbing victim may have fought neighbor attacker

By Harry Hitzeman

An Elgin woman murdered during a home invasion could have struggled with the intruder, new evidence suggests.

Kane County prosecutors have collected DNA from Paul A. Johnson, 34, charged with the stabbing death his neighbor Lisa Koziol-Ellis. He is accused of breaking into her townhouse with a screwdriver then using it stab her to death on March 2. Authorities say he planned to steal a DVD player and other items.

Koziol-Ellis, 33, had scrapings under her fingernails that were preserved after her autopsy. Authorities found possible drops of blood outside her townhouse on the city's near west side and in Johnson's townhouse, according to court records.

"Police recovered samples of what was believed to be human blood, not only at the victim's residence but on the sidewalk and other areas leading to the defendant's residence," according to a court motion to collect DNA filed by prosecutors.

In court records, prosecutors also say police recovered samples of "what is believed to be human blood" during a search of Johnson's townhouse.

Johnson could face an extended prison term of up to 100 years if convicted because prosecutors plan to argue that the murder was "exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty."

Johnson lived four doors down from the home of Koziol-Ellis and her husband, Dash Ellis, on the 100 block of Garden Crescent Drive. They had moved there from Chicago just days before her death.

In court papers seeking Johnson's DNA, Assistant State's Attorney Bill Engerman wrote that Johnson "was in extreme proximity to the victim when the offense occurred and also could have been injured or cut."

Defense attorney Scott Sheen acknowledged Tuesday that authorities have obtained DNA samples from his client. Sheen declined to comment further.

Johnson was arrested about two weeks after the murder. Before that. the slain woman's husband announced a $15,000 reward for an arrest and conviction in the case.

The administrator of a Facebook page, "Justice for Lisa," wrote last month that "the arrest was a direct result of the Elgin Police Department's amazing and diligent investigation. It was not the result of any lead or tip called into the police. While no one is eligible for the reward fund, it has been put into an account where it will stay until someone is convicted."

A request for comment from the Koziol-Ellis' family was referred to Elgin police.

Elgin Police Commander Glenn Theriault, the department's spokesman, declined to comment on the case or how Johnson was apprehended.

Johnson is next due in court on May 3. He is being held on $5 million bail.

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