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Article posted: 11/26/2013 5:29 PM

Trial date set for Hoffman Estates triple murder suspect

The trial is set to begin in March for the man accused of murdering Laura Engelhardt, center, and her father, Alan Engelhardt, top left, in their Hoffman Estates home in April 2009. Shelly Engelhardt, top right, was wounded and her mother Marlene Gacek was killed.

The trial is set to begin in March for the man accused of murdering Laura Engelhardt, center, and her father, Alan Engelhardt, top left, in their Hoffman Estates home in April 2009. Shelly Engelhardt, top right, was wounded and her mother Marlene Gacek was killed.

 

Daily Herald file photo

Marlene Gacek, the mother of Shelly Engelhardt, was one of the three people in the Engelhardt family who were fatally stabbed in April 2009. Now the man accused of the crime, D’Andre Howard, is set to stand trial in March.

Marlene Gacek, the mother of Shelly Engelhardt, was one of the three people in the Engelhardt family who were fatally stabbed in April 2009. Now the man accused of the crime, D'Andre Howard, is set to stand trial in March.

 

Daily Herald File Photo

D’Andre Howard, 25, of Hoffman Estates, faces three counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the 2009 stabbing deaths of Marlene Gacek, Alan Engelhardt, and Laura Engelhardt.

D'Andre Howard, 25, of Hoffman Estates, faces three counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the 2009 stabbing deaths of Marlene Gacek, Alan Engelhardt, and Laura Engelhardt.

 

Daily Herald file photo

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Almost four years after a triple murder in Hoffman Estates, it appears as if suspect D'Andre Howard will finally go on trial.

In court Tuesday, a final hearing for pretrial motions was set for Jan. 22 and a trial date was set for March 18 at the Cook County courthouse in Rolling Meadows.

Howard, now 25, of Hoffman Estates, is charged with fatally stabbing three members of the Engelhardt family in their home on April 17, 2009 -- Laura Engelhardt, 18, a Conant High School senior; her father, Alan Engelhardt, 57; and Laura's grandmother, Marlene Gacek, 73.

Shelly Engelhardt -- Laura's mother, Alan's wife and Gacek's daughter -- was seriously wounded in the attacks but survived.

Howard was engaged to the family's oldest daughter Amanda Engelhardt. She and Howard were having an argument when the stabbings occurred, police said. Amanda was not injured.

Howard faces three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of unlawful murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. If convicted, he'll face life in prison without parole.

The trial was delayed, in part, because the public defender representing Howard retired in January 2012, leaving a new public defender to take up the case. There were also numerous hearings about a possible insanity defense. In September, it looked like a plea deal was in the works. But Howard's attorney, Deana Binstock, said Tuesday there will be no plea agreement.

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