A Kane County jury took less than three hours Friday to convict a 33-year-old Aurora man of choking and stabbing to death his live-in girlfriend two years ago.
Prosecutors argued Delbert Cooper, of the 900 block of East Lake Street, wanted money to buy crack cocaine but Rennee Ann Perry, 21, and a mother of two, wouldn't give it to him.
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Defense attorney Herb Hill argued during the weeklong trial that Perry was angry Cooper got high, attacked him with a knife and he was defending himself.
Prosecutors argued Cooper choked her and stabbed her in the back of the neck in their apartment in the 900 block of Second Avenue on Dec. 19, 2011. Cooper used $100 to get high but later went to a hospital to get three stitches for a cut on his right pinkie that he sustained while stabbing Perry with a 6-inch knife, prosecutors argued.
Cooper never called police and used a fake name when he went to the hospital, claiming he was homeless and suicidal.
"Are the words and actions of the defendant the words and actions of a person who acted in self-defense?" Assistant State's Attorney Bill Engerman asked jurors in his closing statement. "It's evidence of his guilty conscience because he knows what he did."
Perry's body was discovered a couple days later after police conducted a well-being check.
Cooper, whose criminal history includes domestic abuse, drugs and possession of a stolen vehicle, faces up to 60 years in prison when sentenced March 13 by Judge Clint Hull. Cooper has been held at the Kane County jail since his arrest in December 2011.
Assistant State's Attorney Christine Bayer said Cooper only had $7 to his name but wanted money to buy crack cocaine from a neighbor. Cooper attacked Perry from behind, stabbing her while she was on or near the floor, Bayer said.
"Why is the defendant angry? Why is the defendant so mad? Because Rennee won't give him money," Bayer told jurors. "It's a few days before Christmas. She has two children. This is not an accident. Four to five minutes of holding her neck. The knife plunged into her neck so far it went into her mouth cavity."