Trial date delayed for Palatine man charged in girl's 1997 slaying

 
 
Updated 10/9/2015 5:18 PM
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  • DOUG T. GRAHAM/dgraham@dailyherald.com, 2014James P. Eaton, the man accused with killing a Palatine teen in 1997, in a Wisconsin court last year.

    DOUG T. GRAHAM/dgraham@dailyherald.com, 2014James P. Eaton, the man accused with killing a Palatine teen in 1997, in a Wisconsin court last year.

The trial for a Palatine man accused of murdering a 14-year-old suburban girl in 1997 then dumping her body in a southeastern Wisconsin nature preserve has been delayed until next summer, according to court documents.

James P. Eaton, 37, faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse in connection with the killing of Amber Creek, a Palatine girl who disappeared in January 1997, after leaving a Chicago juvenile home where she had been living.

Eaton's trial, which was scheduled to start on Nov. 2, is now slated to begin June 6, 2016.

According to The Journal Times, a Racine County newspaper, Eaton's defense attorneys asked a judge Thursday to delay his trial so they may hire a bite mark DNA expert.

Amber's body was found dumped in the woods partially clothed with a plastic garbage bag over her head and a human bite mark on her neck, according to prosecutors.

The prosecution has said it has DNA evidence against Eaton, including saliva and semen samples taken from the crime scene.

Racine County authorities arrested Eaton in Palatine in April 2014 after the murder went unsolved for 17 years. Authorities say their break in the case came when fingerprints found on the garbage bag matched Eaton's.

Eaton has remained in custody at the Racine County jail for the 14 months since his arrest. He's next scheduled to appear in court May 31 for a final pretrial hearing.

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