After Robert Signorile's live-in girlfriend was found unconscious in a home in Huntley's Sun City and rushed to a hospital March 18, 2012, he kept repeating one thing.
"He said he was afraid he was going to get charged with something," testified Michael Lamke, a friend who drove Signorile, 44, to Sherman Hospital in Elgin where Michelle C. Mathieu underwent emergency surgery.
"He said he didn't do anything and he was going to be charged for it."
Lamke's testimony in a Woodstock courtroom came Tuesday during the opening of Signorile's first-degree murder trial.
Mathieu, 52, died six days later after her family took her off life support. McHenry County prosecutors argue Signorile, who was arrested in August 2011 for a domestic battery against Mathieu, fractured her ribs, spine and caused her head trauma that caused her death.
Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos argued Mathieu had a history of alcohol abuse and seizures, and suggested a seizure occurred, causing her to fall.
Mourelatos said there were no signs of a struggle or fight at the home, and there were no reports of a disturbance the night before she was found unresponsive.
"The doctors will testify they don't know exactly what caused that head trauma to occur," Mourelatos said in his opening statement to jurors.
In his testimony, Lamke said he picked up Signorile and drove him to the hospital, but Signorile didn't want to go inside to see Mathieu.
Afterward, Signorile was not allowed back at the home because police said it was a crime scene. Signorile spent the night at Lamke's home and later implied he wanted to kill himself, asking for access to Lamke's guns, and suggesting to Lamke's toddler daughter that she had seen Mathieu fall before while drinking, Lamke testified.
Michael Mathieu-Duran testified his mother and Signorile had a turbulent relationship, that they both drank excessively and she was unhappy after she moved in summer 2011 from Carol Stream to Sun City because she had no friends there and no car.
Duran said Signorile moved out after the 2011 domestic battery arrest in which he was accused of punching Mathieu and dragging her by the hair.
"She was doing awesome. She was going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly. She was on a good streak," Duran recalled, and noted his mom regressed after Signorile moved back in early 2012.
Duran also testified Signorile called him after Mathieu was hospitalized, "constantly telling me he didn't touch her" and that she fell twice and hit her head on a cabinet. Signorile later said she fell three times.
The trial in front of Judge Sharon Prather is expected to run late into the week. If convicted, Signorile faces between 20 and 60 years in prison. He's been held on $2 million bail since his arrest March 26, 2012.