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updated: 8/29/2013 4:09 PM

Vernon Hills man who killed wife could be free in one year

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  • Ronald Stolberg, of Vernon Hills, and his defense attorney, Kevin Rosner, right, listen during Stolberg's murder trial in May.

      Ronald Stolberg, of Vernon Hills, and his defense attorney, Kevin Rosner, right, listen during Stolberg's murder trial in May.
    Pool -- Chicago Tribune/Stacey Wescott

 
 

If his defense attorneys get their way, a Vernon Hills man sentenced to eight years in prison for killing his wife could be freed from custody in about one year.

Defense attorneys for Ronald Stolberg, 49, argued the Vernon Hills electrical engineer deserves to receive time-served credit for being forced to wear an electronic home monitoring bracelet for 411 days while out on bail after his wife's 2011 death.

If that time is granted, Stolberg would receive 814 days of time served credit, and not the 383 days given to him during his sentencing this month, defense attorney Kevin Rosner said Thursday.

In addition, Rosner said, if Stolberg receives good time credit between now and his release, he could be freed from prison in mid to late 2014.

"We want the credit for the time he spent on that bracelet," Rosner said. "If it's granted, then he could technically be home next year."

Rosner and defense attorney William Hedrick were expected to argue the point during a Thursday hearing in front of Lake County Judge Mark Levitt. However, Levitt wanted more time to review case law before allowing the hearing to continue.

The issue will be back in court Sept. 13.

Stolberg was sentenced to eight years in prison after a jury found him guilty in May of involuntary manslaughter of his wife, Rachel, in their home on the 300 block of Farmington Lane in July 2011.

Because involuntary manslaughter is served at 50 percent, Stolberg must serve 4 years of the sentence.

Add another 814 days for time served and any other good time credits awarded by the department of corrections, and Stolberg could be freed in 12 to 16 months.

Had Stolberg been found guilty of first-degree murder, he could have been sentenced up to 60 years in prison.

Prosecutors claimed during the trial that Stolberg became so sleep-deprived and irritated with his mentally ill wife that he lashed out at her, dragged her onto the hardwood floor in their townhouse, put his knee on her back and crushed her into the floor.

The move drove the air out of Rachel Stolberg, prosecutors said, and she died of traumatic asphyxiation.

However, Hedrick and Rosner argued that prosecutors were not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ronald Stolberg intentionally killed Rachel.

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