'Cowardly acts' lead to 135-year sentence for Holiday Hills man
A 52-year-old Holiday Hills man who wounded two McHenry County sheriff's deputies and sparked a manhunt in October 2014 was sentenced to 135 years in prison Thursday.
Scott B. Peters, an Army veteran who admitted he hates cops, was convicted of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer after an April trial and faced up to 140 years in prison for wounding deputies Dwight Maness and Khalia Satkiewicz, who were responding to a well-being check at Peters' home.
"Your acts were cowardly acts," McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather told Peters before sentencing him. "You blame everyone but yourself. You have shown no remorse, no empathy to the victims."
A jury took just two hours to convict Peters after an April trial, during which his attorneys acknowledged Peters opened fire on the deputies but Peters argued he thought they were breaking into his home and acted in self-defense.
Prosecutors painted a much different picture through a videotaped interrogation of Peters and testimony from the wounded deputies, along with a third deputy, Eric Luna, who exchanged fire with Peters until reinforcements arrived.
According to trial testimony, all three arrived at Peters' home about 1:15 a.m. Oct. 16 and Luna went around back while the other two knocked on the front door. Peters refused to open the door and yelled "Airborne!" before firing a volley of shots from his AR-15 assault rifle through the door.
Maness and Satkiewicz were hit, and Maness was shot another time while running to his squad car to get a bigger gun. Luna ran to the front of the house, where Peters yelled that he was an Army paratrooper and "I hope you're ready to die because I am!" before shooting more.
Peters fled the area, triggering a manhunt in which he was captured after 16 hours. Peters' wife and 12-year-old daughter, who were home at the time, were not injured.
Maness and Satkiewicz, as well as their family members, provided emotional statements about the night of the shooting, the aftereffects and how Peters' actions changed their lives.
"His agenda that night was clear. He was hellbent on killing us," recalled Satkiewicz, who hopes to return to active duty in late July or early August. "My kids' faces ran across my mind. I prayed, 'God, please don't let me die. My kids (8 and 13) need me.' Evil showed itself on Oct. 16 in the form of Scott Peters. He deserves to die in prison."
Satkiewicz's husband, Robert, an Illinois State Police master sergeant, described the frustration he felt at the hospital waiting for an emergency surgeon and how he even wanted to join the manhunt for Peters.
"You have a misguided hatred in you that's out of control and you need to be locked up for the rest of your life," Robert Satkiewicz said to Peters. "You are lucky I wasn't there (on Oct. 16) or you wouldn't be here today."
Maness attended Peters' trial in a wheelchair but could not attend the sentencing because he was hospitalized after his 14th and 15th surgeries to repair his left leg. A fellow deputy read a statement from Maness in which he described his calling to serve others, first with 20 years in the Army and another seven with the sheriff's office.
Now, Maness requires constant care and may never be on active duty again, but he said the shooting brought the department together, with many deputies taking time off to be with their families.
"In their minds, if this could happen to me, it could happen to any of us," said Maness' statement. "The bullet has broken my leg, but not my spirit."
Maness' wife, Sue, also recalled getting a phone call in the middle of the night, racing to the hospital and seeing her husband who was as pale as the white bed sheets. He took Sue's hand an apologized, saying, "I promised you I would always come home every day and I broke that promise."
"Scott Peters hates law enforcement not because they are corrupt, but because he could never measure up to any of them," Sue Maness said. "My husband is the true soldier, the Airborne Ranger, the real hero."
Before being sentenced, Peters read a statement in which he apologized for his "tragic mistake" and said his wife, who is still with him, and his daughter, also were suffering a loss.
"In the end, there were families on both sides of the door at my house that night," Peters said.
But his words and apology rang hollow when contrasted with a recorded phone call Peters made to his wife right after the guilty verdict that prosecutors played in court. In the call, Peters said the entire trial -- from the judge and jurors to his defense team -- was "rigged" and claimed police took the front door off his home and fired shots through it to frame him.
"Everything's rigged. I'm toast, honey. If you want to leave me, I understand," Peters said on the recording.
Under state law, Peters must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence, or nearly 114 years.