Texas man pleads not guilty to murdering grandmother
A 41-year-old Texas man pleaded not guilty in Kane County court Thursday to charges he killed his grandmother in July at her East Dundee home.
Richard Schmelzer, of Frisco, a Dallas suburb, is being held at the Kane County jail on $5 million bail and faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted of murdering Mildred "Dodie" Darrington, 85, who was found stabbed to death in her home on the 100 block of Aldis Lane.
Court records and a search warrants indicate Schmelzer had money problems, gave an estimated $50,000 to a Las Vegas escort, and stood to inherit a large part of Darrington's estimated $1 million estate.
Schmelzer was arrested and charged with murder in August.
Authorities believe Schmelzer drove a car that was rented by a friend from Texas to the suburbs and killed Darrington, according to a search warrant.
The vehicle was captured on video July 18 for a toll violation at the I-355 and Boughton Road toll plaza. Also, cellphone records of a Schmelzer friend show numerous calls from a prepaid cellphone bought in Texas days before Darrington's death, according to court records.
Also, Schmelzer's family was in Montana for several days and his alibi that he was at a work conference did not check out, according to a search warrant.
Schmelzer is next due in court on Nov. 19.