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Article updated: 11/21/2013 1:31 PM

Lake County Deputy facing obstruction of justice charge gets trial date

Eric Francke

Eric Francke

 
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The destruction of evidence trial against a suspended Lake County sheriff's deputy is slated to begin Dec. 2, attorneys agreed in court Thursday.

Eric Francke, 33, of the 43000 block of Forest Drive in Antioch, faces up to three years in prison if found guilty of obstructing justice -- destroying evidence in order to thwart his own prosecution. Francke will also be tried on a charge of solicitation of a sex act during the trial, attorneys said.

Both Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Jason Grindel and defense attorney Chris Lombardo acknowledged in court they are ready for trial.

"We've been ready to try this case since he was charged," Lombardo said.

Francke remains free from jail after posting 10 percent of his $10,000 bail.

His charges are the last outstanding in a human sex trafficking case involving a downstate woman and her Chicago boyfriend.

Aaron Thurmond, 23, and his brother Jeffrey Horton, 27, were pulled over by Mundelein police about 11 p.m. on April 2 after they were spotted traveling through Mundelein with their headlights off.

During the traffic stop, the female victim told officers she was being forced to work as a prostitute by Thurmond and Horton. Police said the victim told officers she had just left a home in Wauconda where she was paid $300 to have sex, and was traveling to meet a man in Antioch where she will also be paid for a sex act.

The Antioch man was Francke, authorities said.

Following an investigation, Thurmond and Horton were charged with trafficking in persons/involuntary servitude, promoting prostitution and money laundering.

Horton pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of promoting prostitution on June 28 and remains free on probation.

Thurmond pleaded guilty this month to a single count of trafficking in humans for forcing the woman to act as a prostitute. He was sentenced to four years in prison as part of a negotiated plea.

Francke, a deputy with the sheriff's office since September 2008, was suspended without pay after charges were filed against him May 13.

The Wauconda man was never charged.

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