A Cook County judge agreed to a 23-year prison term in exchange for a guilty plea by Steven Cole in the 2011 stabbing murder of his father, Stuart, in the family's Arlington Heights home.
"I will reluctantly go along with the state's agreement," said Judge Thomas Fecarotta, who imposed the sentence after prosecutors told him the sole surviving family member of the victim and the defendant concurred with it. Cole faced a sentence of 20 to 60 years.
Cole, who received credit for nearly three years in custody, must complete his entire sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Fecarotta mentioned the longtime experience of both prosecutors and Cole's assistant public defenders, saying he trusted their judgment when it came to sentencing the 43-year-old, for whom mental fitness had been an issue.
A former mixed martial arts fighter, Cole had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder but was found fit to stand trial provided he took his medication.
Cole answered Fecarotta's questions quietly but otherwise showed no emotion during Monday's hearing. It began with Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Gerber recounting Cole's call to a 911 dispatch operator around midnight on June 13, 2011, when he informed the operator he had killed his father.
Police arrived and found Stuart Cole, 69, laying on the floor in the family room, where he had been beaten and stabbed about 20 times, Gerber said. During Cole's bond hearing, prosecutors said police had been called to the house "numerous times." In 2000, Steven Cole attacked and injured his father in police officers' presence and threatened to kill the older man. In 2007, prosecutors say he threatened to kill both parents.
At the time of Stuart Cole's murder, his wife -- Steven Cole's mother -- was suffering from cancer, Gerber said. She subsequently died, leaving Steven's sister as his sole surviving family member.
"This is the best possible resolution to this matter," Gerber said.
Cook County Assistant Public Defender Helen Tsimouris agreed.
"He's contrite," she said, adding that her client's guilty plea indicates he has taken responsibility for his actions and it "spares the family further grief and anguish."
Cole declined to make a statement, except to request psychiatric treatment, which prosecutors say he will receive if prison officials determine he needs it.