Champaign man pleads not guilty in Kristy Wesselman slaying
A 62-year-old Champaign man charged with murder and sexual assault in the 1985 fatal stabbing and rape of 15-year-old Glenbard South High School sophomore Kristina Wesselman pleaded not guilty Tuesday in DuPage County court.
Prosecutors said Michael Jones was linked to the crime last month through a DNA sample he was required to give after pleading guilty this summer to aggravated domestic battery in Champaign County. His DNA matched samples from the 1985 murder scene that had been filed in a national database in 2000.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles, he entered his plea before Judge George Bakalis.
Jones was indicted Tuesday morning on eight counts of first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault stemming from the July 21, 1985, murder of Kristy, who was stabbed eight times and sexually assaulted in broad daylight on a wooded path near Butterfield Road and Route 53 that led to her home in the nearby Valley View subdivision near Glen Ellyn.
Kristy's body was found in a pile of leaves near a half-eaten candy bar and soda bottle by a sheriff's deputy about 11 a.m. the following day.
If convicted, Jones faces 80 years to natural life in prison for the murder and six to 30 years in prison for the sexual assault.
Prosecutors gave defense attorneys 2,382 pages of discovery. His next court date is at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 24 in Courtroom 4006.
Jones spoke only once during his arraignment, when Bakalis asked him if he understood the charges.
"I do, Your Honor," he said.
When Kristy was killed, Jones was on parole. He had served seven years of a 10- to 20-year term for a sexual assault on Aug. 4, 1977, in Schiller Park.
In that case, Jones ran his car into a 27-year-old bicyclist, knocking her to the ground in Chicago, DuPage State's Attorney Robert Berlin said. Jones forced the woman into the car, bound her wrists and put a wool stocking cap over her head.
Authorities said he then drove to his parents' home in Schiller Park and repeatedly assaulted the woman there.
Kristy's mother was flanked, in the courtroom Tuesday, by several family members and friends but declined to comment after the hearing.