An Elk Grove Village woman charged with delivering guns to Scott B. Peters, who authorities say used them to shoot two McHenry County sheriff's deputies last October, was acquitted Thursday following a one-day bench trial before Cook County Judge Thomas Fecarotta.
Prosecutors were unable to prove that Kathryn Kriepke, Peters' aunt, intentionally transferred the weapons to him. Kriepke, 68, maintained her innocence from the time she was arrested in December, said defense attorney Sam Amirante.
Amirante insisted Kriepke never gave her nephew the guns, which were stored in her basement, along with other items belonging to Peters, for 17 years.
Peters, of Holiday Hills, is in custody in McHenry County charged with the attempted murder of deputies Khalia Satkiewicz and Dwight Maness. Authorities say the deputies were shot and injured after they responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at Peters' home on Oct. 16, 2014.
Learning of the charges against Peters, Kriepke was "was shocked. She was devastated. She felt horrible," Amirante said.
Prosecutors said the guns came to Kriepke after Peters' Firearm Owner's Identification card was revoked. He turned the guns over to police after he was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm in Wilmette in 1995. Wilmette officials asked that the weapons be confiscated and destroyed, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Gerber.
But after the charges against Peters were dropped in 1997, Judge Harold Sullivan ordered the guns be turned over to Kriepke, who had a valid FOID card, until Peters obtained a new FOID card, "which he never did," Gerber said.
The weapons remained in Kriepke's basement, along with machinery and other personal property belonging to Peters.
"Years go by, she never saw them (the guns)," said Amirante.
After Kriepke and Peters had a falling out in August 2014, Kriepke ordered her nephew to remove his property from her home, Amirante said. He said Peters spent six hours cleaning out the basement, and Kriepke was not there at the time.
"She was relieved that the judge did the right thing," said Amirante after the trial, adding "those guns should have been melted down and destroyed a long time ago."