Homeless man convicted of 2013 Glen Ellyn slaying of his girlfriend
Myron Ester is now likely to have an Illinois Department of Corrections address for the rest of his life.
A DuPage County jury deliberated for about two hours Thursday before convicting Ester, 50, of the 2013 first-degree murder of his girlfriend, Linda Valez, and the concealment of her homicide.
They also found the matter in which he killed her, stabbing her 39 times, to be brutally heinous and cold, calculated and premeditated. Each of those findings mean Ester likely faces natural life in prison.
In her closing arguments, Assistant State's Attorney Mandy Meindl called Ester's actions on the evening of Sept. 24, 2013, in Glen Ellyn "shockingly evil."
"This case is about coldblooded murder. The defendant plunged a knife into Linda Valez's body over 30 times," Meindl said. "Then he dragged her body, as her life escaped from those stab wounds, into a grave he dug."
Prosecutors say Ester stabbed the 33-year-old Valez 39 times after a fight about infidelity in the relationship and left her body in a shallow grave that he dug earlier in the day in Panfish Park on the night of Sept. 24, 2013.
Valez, a mother of seven, was stabbed in the face, neck and torso. An autopsy uncovered 39 wounds, including defensive marks on her arms.
The next day, Ester visited a longtime friend in Naperville and confessed to the killing, but she never called police. Ester was arrested at her home on Sept. 29.
"This defendant had evil in his heart and murder on his brain," Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Lindt said in his closing argument.
Ester, however, claimed the 6-feet-by-6-feet-by-18-inches-deep hole he dug was for a firepit so the homeless couple would have a romantic and warm place to sleep. He said it was an intoxicated Valez who pulled the knife on him as they approached the park.
Toxicology reports, however, showed Valez had no signs of drugs or alcohol in her system at the time she was killed.
"On Sept. 24, 2013, (Ester) brought Linda to Panfish Park knowing full well he would be walking out alone," Berlin said in a written statement after the verdict. "This was a premeditated senseless act of domestic violence that, thanks to the outstanding work of the Glen Ellyn Police Department and the Major Crimes Task Force, will not go unpunished. Their rapid response to a missing-person report along with an extremely thorough investigation led to today's guilty verdict."
Ester's next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 20, for return of the pre-sentence report.