Lisle resident Donald Mischke was convicted of crashing into a woman with his vehicle and killing her while fleeing police in Waukegan in 2010.
Mischke, 56, who opted to have a judge decide his fate instead of a jury, was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated driving under the influence, aggravated fleeing and eluding police officers, burglary and retail theft. His trial in Lake County circuit court started Dec. 17.
Lake County Circuit Judge Mark Levitt issued the verdict Thursday. He set Mischke's sentencing for Feb. 15.
Prosecutors said Mischke was fleeing from a Waukegan police officer who caught him breaking into the Target store at Lewis and Sunset avenues when he ran a red light and struck Elisha Clark's car broadside about 2 a.m. Dec. 23, 2010. Clark, 25, of Grayslake, was the mother of an 8-year-old son and a woman who aspired to teach children with developmental disabilities. She was pronounced dead at the crash scene.
Mischke's defense attorneys at trial had contended while Clark's death was tragic, their client was not running from police and, therefore, should not be found guilty of her murder. Lake County prosecutors originally charged Mischke with reckless homicide, aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and aggravated fleeing and eluding, but added the first-degree murder charge after presenting the case to a grand jury in 2011.
Tests at a hospital where Mischke was taken after the crash revealed he had cocaine in his system, prosecutors said, and court records show his driver's license has been revoked since 1994. Mischke was freed from the Lake County jail prior to his trial after posting 10 percent of a $500,000 bond. Mischke will await sentencing behind bars because Levitt revoked his bond after announcing the conviction Thursday.