Prosecutors said Tuesday they will not pursue murder charges against a Holiday Hills man for shooting a sheriff's deputy who died a year after he was wounded.
Scott Peters, 53, already is serving a 135-year prison term for attempted murder and another trial wouldn't change the fact that he will die in prison, McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi said. Authorities also consulted with the Sue Maness, the widow of Deputy Dwight Maness, in making the decision. Bianchi said.
"She understands. She was in agreement not to go ahead (with a murder trial)." Bianchi said. "It isn't going to change the fact that (Peters) will spend the rest of his life in prison."
Maness, a 47-year-old Army veteran, was shot in the back and the leg before being dragged to safety after responding to a call at Peters' home last October. Maness, who had been on the mend, died last month from a blood clot in his lung during a rehabilitation session.
Earlier this year, a McHenry County jury convicted Peters of attempted murder for opening fire on three sheriff deputies who went to his Holiday Hills home to conduct a well-being check on Peters' wife.
Peters fled but was caught less than a day later after a massive manhunt.
Maness testified against Peters in the trial.
Bianchi said his office also consulted with Sheriff Bill Prim, Coroner Anne Majewski, and reviewed evidence.
Majewski's investigation ended Tuesday, and she concluded Maness died from complications from the his injuries sustained in the shooting and the manner of his death was a homicide.
Bianchi said bringing Peters back to trial on murder charges also carries some risk: if a jury found him not guilty, that could potentially affect the guilty verdict for attempted murder.
"You never want to take the chance of inconsistent verdicts," Bianchi added.
While Peters was sentenced to 135 years in prison, state law mandates that he serve as least 114 years of that.
Peters would have to live to be 166 to be released. Bianchi also noted that there is no statute of limitations for murder, so authorities could always charge Peters again if they so choose.