Guilty plea expected in pregnant Villa Park woman's killing

  • Eric Gilford

    Eric Gilford

 
Updated 5/18/2011 11:39 AM

A former Navy recruiter accused of stabbing his pregnant wife to death in front of her daughter on the child's fourth birthday plans to plead guilty, his attorney disclosed in court Tuesday.

Assistant Public Defender Ricky Holman said 36-year-old Eric Gilford of Downers Grove will consult with his family before pleading guilty in coming months. He told DuPage County Judge Kathryn Creswell that Gilford plans to enter a "blind plea," meaning there is no sentencing agreement with prosecutors.

 

Gilford is accused of stabbing his wife, Kristine, at least 17 times in front of her daughter on May 26, 2010 in Villa Park. Prosecutors said the 35-year-old victim survived long enough to identify Gilford as her attacker -- and the child also named him "the bad guy."

Authorities apprehended Gilford last August at a Good Samaritan Mission in Jackson, Wyo., where they said he had been living under an alias and trying to establish a new identity. He was later extradited to Illinois and indicted on charges of first-degree murder, home invasion and intentional homicide of an unborn child.

Prosecutors said Gilford stabbed the victim, formerly of Arlington Heights, in the chest, back and arms after using an online people-finder and other means to track her to a Villa Park apartment where she was staying with an ex-boyfriend. The victim and the defendant had married the previous February and were expecting their first child.

On Tuesday, Creswell set Gilford's next court appearance for May 31, at which point the defendant plans to request a date to plead guilty, Holman said. Gilford remains in the county jail without bond.