East Dundee murder suspect's statements to police questioned

  • Richard Schmelzer, here making an appearance in Kane County court in October 2014 on charges he murdered his grandmother, wants to have his statements to police banned from court.

    Richard Schmelzer, here making an appearance in Kane County court in October 2014 on charges he murdered his grandmother, wants to have his statements to police banned from court. chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune, Pool

 
 
Updated 6/14/2016 6:39 PM

Attorneys began arguments Tuesday whether statements by a Texas man accused of killing his grandmother in East Dundee in 2014 for part of her inheritance should be allowed in court.

Richard C. Schmelzer, 43, of the Dallas suburb of Frisco, is accused of murdering 85-year-old Mildred "Dodie" Darrington July 18, 2014, at her home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Authorities believe Schmelzer rented a car in his friend's name while he was supposed to be at a work conference and drove to Illinois, killed her and drove back to Texas.

Defense attorney Joshua Dieden argued Schmelzer's statements July 24, 2014 at the South Elgin police station were not given voluntarily. He said Schmelzer wasn't advised of his right to remain silent, was isolated, coerced and, overall, was drained from attending the funeral.

"He was physically, emotionally and mentally fragile," Dieden said. "That's a fact."

Prosecutors painted a different picture.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney William Engerman said in court papers Schmelzer willingly came to the police station with his wife, was told he was free to leave, and had an amicable conversation with detectives about the effect Darrington's death had on his family.

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During the interview, Schmelzer made an unsolicited statement about his receipt from a July 17 dinner at a Texas restaurant around the time of Darrington's death, according to court records.

Schmelzer then offered an explanation for "discrepancies" in the receipt; the court motion does not elaborate on the discrepancies.

Officers tried to contact the restaurant and later returned to talk with Schmelzer, saying they wanted to speak to him further and he was then read his Miranda Rights, according to court records. Schmelzer answered questions for six more minutes before asking for an attorney, according to Engerman's court motion.

Judge Linda Abrahamson gave Dieden more time to include additional arguments in his court motion. Attorneys will argue the matter Aug. 8 after Abrahamson has watched the entire video of the interview.

Schmelzer was being held at the Kane County jail on $5 million bond. If convicted, he faces between 20 and 60 years in prison with no chance of early release.

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