DuPage judge: Prosecutors can cite previous sex cases in trial on 1985 murder
A DuPage County judge has ruled that prosecutors may introduce evidence of previous sexual crimes committed by Michael Jones during his trial in the 1985 murder of 15-year-old Kristy Wesselman near Glen Ellyn.
Judge George Bakalis on Thursday ruled that DuPage prosecutors can present jurors with evidence from 1976 and 1977 cases in which Jones committed sexually violent attacks against young women.
DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, who is prosecuting the case, outlined the facts of the two cases and pointed out the similarities to Kristy's murder.
On July 21, 1985, prosecutors allege Jones sexually assaulted and murdered Kristy in broad daylight as she walked along a path behind a Jewel Food Store at Butterfield Road and Route 53 that led to her home in the nearby Valley View subdivision.
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. She had been stabbed eight times and sexually assaulted while a shoelace was tied tightly around her neck.
"The facts of these cases are strikingly similar," Berlin told Bakalis. "They are incredibly similar and incredibly relevant."
On Aug. 9, 1976, Jones attacked an 18-year-old woman who was walking home along Irving Park Road in Chicago. Berlin said Jones grabbed her, put a gun to her side and tied her up before taking her to his home, where he sexually assaulted her.
Jones on Aug. 9, 1977, attacked a 27-year-old who was riding her bike home from work near Ashland Avenue and Irving Park Road in Chicago.
Berlin said Jones used his Buick Skylark, the same car he used to abduct the woman a year earlier, to knock the woman off her bike. He then hit her in the head with a gun and forced her into the car before taking her to his parents' home in Schiller Park, where he strangled and sexually assaulted her.
Jones was convicted and served nearly six years in prison. He was released June 17, 1983, two years before Kristy's murder.
Assistant Public Defender Robert Gifford argued that the cases brought forward by the prosecutors actually posed "insufficient factual similarity" to the Wesselman case and shouldn't be allowed to be brought up at trial.
Jones is next due in court July 13, when Bakalis said he hopes to set a trial date.