Judge: Deceased killer can't be blamed for 1985 slaying of Kristy Wesselman

  • Michael Jones

    Michael Jones

  • Kristy Wesselman

    Kristy Wesselman

 
 
Updated 12/20/2017 5:01 PM

Lawyers for a Champaign man accused of the 1985 slaying of 15-year-old Kristy Wesselman near Glen Ellyn can't blame the crime on a deceased suspected serial killer during the trial.

Michael Jones is scheduled to stand trial next month. The 64-year-old is charged with multiple counts each of first-degree murder and aggravated criminal sexual assault.

 

Public defenders wanted to present evidence that a twice-convicted murderer named Ralph Raymond Andrews could have been responsible for stabbing and sexually assaulting Wesselman.

But DuPage County Judge George Bakalis ruled Wednesday that Jones' defense can't suggest a specific third party killed Wesselman.

Bakalis said he wants to avoid a situation where someone is named as a possible suspect without evidence.

Andrews died Jan. 31, 2006, in an Illinois prison where he was serving a life sentence for the 1991 murder of a Chicago woman and the 1977 slaying of a Chicago teenager.

Senior Assistant Public Defender Robert Gifford argued in a written motion that authorities interviewing Andrews investigated allegations of other murders and crimes linked to Andrews.

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"It was asserted that Mr. Andrews murdered young women during the course of sexual assaults using ligatures and knives and was active from the early 1970s through the early 1990s," Gifford wrote. "In the course of interviews with investigators, Mr. Andrews listed approximately 24 other victims by first name, one of which was listed as 'Kris.'"

But Bakalis said the mere mention of the name "Kris" isn't enough proof. There's no other evidence linking Andrews to Wesselman's death, he said.

In fact, prosecutors said investigators had DNA from Andrews and excluded him as a suspect. They say Jones is the only one with a connection to the crime.

Jones was linked to the slaying in September 2015 through a DNA sample he was required to give after pleading guilty that summer to aggravated domestic battery in Champaign County. His sample came back as a match for DNA recovered from Wesselman.

Authorities say Wesselman was sexually assaulted and killed in broad daylight on July 21, 1985, as she walked along a path near a grocery store at Butterfield Road and Route 53 that led to her home in the nearby Valley View subdivision. Her body was found in a pile of leaves near a half-eaten candy bar and a soda bottle by a sheriff's deputy about 11 a.m. the following day.

Jones' trial is scheduled to start on Jan. 23. If convicted, he faces 80 years to natural life in prison for the murder and six to 30 years in prison for the sexual assault.

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