Man who held Glen Ellyn couple hostage gets 12 years
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A 65-year-old man who held two people hostage inside a Glen Ellyn home last year was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison.
Jeffrey Beard of the 1400 block of Avery Avenue in Wheaton faced up to 20 years after pleading guilty to home invasion.
Authorities said Beard detained a female acquaintance and her boyfriend at gunpoint after entering the woman's home uninvited about 10:30 p.m. Sept. 16, 2012. At one point, he put a gun to the woman's head and threatened to kill her, prosecutors said.
The victims were held hostage for more than three hours. During that time, there was a struggle for the gun and a shot was fired, although no one was injured by it.
Authorities said the male victim managed to escape about 2 a.m. and flag down police, who surrounded the home while the 37-year-old female victim ran to safety.
Afterward, Beard tried to flee from police, who used a stun gun and pepper spray to take him into custody, according to prosecutors.
"To say the least, this incident was terrifying for the victims," Assistant State's Attorney Demetri Demopoulos said in court.
Defense attorney LaWanda Phillips said Beard believed he had a dating relationship with the female victim at the time and "reacted very, very poorly" when he stopped by her home and saw her through a window having sexual contact with another man.
Beard apologized in court.
"I wasn't thinking," he said. "I let my emotions get the best of me."
In a written statement presented in court, the female victim said the attack left her consumed by fear. She later moved in with her mother until she could find another place to live.
"The attack came out of nowhere and no matter where I live, being home is no longer a safe place for me," she wrote. "I hate this feeling and I constantly wonder if any home will ever feel safe to me again."
Beard pleaded guilty after prosecutors agreed to cap their sentencing recommendation at 20 years when he otherwise would have faced up to 30. DuPage County Judge Kathryn Creswell imposed Tuesday's sentence.
"It would certainly seem that what occurred was out of character," the judge said, adding that Beard had a limited criminal record, a lengthy work history and a "supportive network" of family and friends.
By law, Beard must serve at least six years before he's eligible for parole. He will receive credit toward the term for time served in jail since his arrest last year.
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