Man accused of raping, strangling Schaumburg neighbor rejects 55-year plea deal
The man accused of sexually assaulting and strangling a woman who lived across from him in a Schaumburg apartment complex has rejected a 55-year prison sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.
Bulmaro Mejia-Maya told a Cook County judge Monday through an interpreter that he would rather have a bench trial than accept a plea deal his public defender and prosecutors had negotiated for months. The judge set the trial to begin on April 8, though it is likely to get delayed as both sides work to schedule witness appearances.
Mejia-Maya, 31, is charged with felony murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and home invasion in the April 15, 2017, killing of 33-year-old Tiffany Thrasher, who lived across the courtyard from where Mejia-Maya lived with five unrelated men. Prosecutors said Mejia-Maya crawled into Thrasher's apartment through a window and confronted her in a bathroom, where she threatened to call police. Authorities said Mejia-Maya punched Thrasher in the face, sexually assaulted her, then strangled her.
Her body was found the next day -- Easter Sunday -- after friends from her church noticed she had been absent from services.
Investigators said Mejia-Maya fled to Florida, where he was located a few days later.
About a dozen family members and friends of Thrasher were in court Monday. They declined to comment on the case.