Grand jury indicts Navy recruiter in pregnant wife's murder in Villa Park

  • Eric and Kristine Gilford at the February wedding.

    Eric and Kristine Gilford at the February wedding.

 
 
Updated 2/24/2011 4:43 PM

A DuPage County grand jury handed up a criminal indictment Tuesday against a former U.S. Navy recruiter accused of fatally stabbing his pregnant wife in Villa Park in front of her 4-year-old daughter.

Eric Gilford, 31, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and the intentional homicide of an unborn child. He is expected to plead not guilty when arraigned Thursday before DuPage Circuit Judge Kathryn Creswell.

 

Gilford is accused of stabbing his bride, Kristine, 17 times May 26 in front of her daughter on the child's birthday. The 35-year-old woman survived long enough to identify Gilford as her attacker, prosecutors said. They said the child, Gracie May, also named him as "the bad guy" who hurt her mother and identified him in a photo.

Eric Gilford fled the state afterward but was found and extradited to Illinois last month. He remains in the DuPage County jail without bond.

The Downers Grove couple married in February and were expecting their first child next month. Kristine, who grew up in Arlington Heights and attended high school in Naperville, died from stab wounds to her chest, back and arms.

Prosecutors said Gracie also told police Eric Gilford had a knife and a hammer, both of which were located inside the apartment. Kristine left Gilford and had been staying in the apartment on the 300 block of North Ardmore Avenue in Villa Park with an ex-boyfriend. Eric Gilford used a computerized people-finder service, among other methods, to track his wife there, prosecutors said.

Nearly a dozen police officers closed in on Gilford Aug. 5 while he was eating dessert at the Good Samaritan Mission in Jackson, Wyo. Eric Gilford waived extradition Aug. 12. Authorities said he had been living under an alias and was trying to establish a new identity.