DuPage County man gets 30 years in beating murder

  • James Aydelotte

    James Aydelotte

Updated 7/13/2020 7:43 PM

James Aydelotte was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for beating a man to death in January 2017 in an unincorporated area near Glen Ellyn.

"This was no accident. This was no foolish mistake by a young kid who did not know anything," DuPage County Assistant State's Attorney Kristin Sullivan told Judge Alexander McGimpsey, asking for a 45-year term. "This was not a one-time event. This was not a blip on the radar."


She argued against taking Aydelotte's mental health and intellectual capacity into consideration as mitigating factors. When he pleaded guilty in October 2019 to the first-degree murder of neighbor John Murray, Aydelotte said he had an eighth-grade education. But Assistant Public Defender Kyle Rubeck said Monday that Aydelotte can't read, "not even at a second-grade level," and has an IQ so low only .2 percent of other people who take that particular test score lower than him.

He asked for the minimum sentence of 20 years. "What it does is give him 20 years to redirect his life," Rubeck said.

He said Aydelotte has completed an anger-management program while in jail.

Aydelotte gets credit for the more than three years he has been held in the DuPage County jail.

Murray, Aydelotte, Aydelotte's girlfriend and several other people were drinking at the home of Aydelotte and his mother. The girlfriend told detectives Aydelotte became upset when Murray made a sexual remark about her and another woman. Aydelotte then punched and kicked Murray, and stomped on his head. Later, when Aydelotte believed Murray was sitting too close to the girlfriend, he beat him again, telling Murray to "go night-night, (expletive)."

He then took a kitchen knife and stabbed Murray in a leg.

Aydelotte's mother called 911 16 hours later when Murray could not be roused. He died the next day. He suffered bleeding on his brain, a broken jaw, the knife wound, scrapes and a black eye. A footprint impression was found on the top of his head.

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Sullivan said Aydelotte "wasn't the sharpest pencil in the box," but that he was smart enough to urge witnesses to the attacks to tell a fake story about Murray being injured in a fall down stairs, and to get a friend to hide the knife.

William Murray, John's older brother, acknowledged John was an alcoholic who begged for money at nearby stores.

"Don't let his struggles prevent you from seeing the man he was capable of being," Murray told the judge.

Murray's younger brother, Thomas Murray, said Murray had a daughter with whom he hoped to reconcile. He urged Aydelotte to use his time in prison to improve himself.

"Don't waste your whole time behind bars trying to be a gangster," he said.

According to Rubeck, Aydelotte grew up without his biological father, and his mother's boyfriend was an abusive alcoholic. Relatives submitted letters saying Aydelotte was loving, generous and would not hurt anybody.

Villa Park police officers testified to being familiar with Aydelotte from several incidents. Aydelotte was once charged with attacking a person at its train station when he was 13, and with beating a man, including stepping on his neck and leaving a shoeprint, when Aydelotte was 18. The train station case was handled with a station adjustment; the victim in the other case did not show up to testify, so the case was dismissed. Aydelotte was charged in 2016 with hitting his sister, but she would not testify against him, so the case was dropped.

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