Interrogation video shows suspect in Hinsdale murder admitting theft, denying killing
Hinsdale Detective Thomas Krefft and murder suspect Dominic Sanders spent about six hours together May 25, 2017, in an interrogation room at the Burr Ridge Police Department.
Over that time -- which started around 3:30 a.m. -- Krefft picked at Sanders' story about how and why he had sold two rings at a pawnshop in Melrose Park earlier that month.
The rings are playing a key role in Sanders' trial for the slaying of Andrea Urban on May 4, 2017, inside her Hinsdale home.
Sanders, 32, of University Park, faces charges of first-degree murder, home invasion, armed robbery and residential burglary. The charges allege Sanders stabbed Urban, 50, to death during a daytime break-in of her residence.
Sanders went from saying he didn't recall pawning anything that day, and that he hadn't pawned anything since 2008 or 2009, to admitting it was his signature on the pawnshop's purchase slip. "That's my signature. That's for sure," he said in the video of the interview.
He then told police they were the wedding and engagement rings of one of his sisters, and she asked him to sell them because of problems she had with her husband. He talked of his sister being paranoid and suspecting her husband of cheating on her with another sister, and that she would use the $440 he obtained -- less $10 gasoline money -- to buy a new cellphone because she thought hers was being tapped.
Portions of that video were played for the jury Tuesday at Sanders' murder trial in DuPage County.
The rings actually belonged to Urban.
On the video, Sanders talks about driving from Matteson to Melrose Park, then going out for tacos with a friend. He agreed it was his car spotted by a red-light camera system at Ogden Avenue and Wolf Road. He admitted to parking near downtown Hinsdale that morning, and walking around neighborhoods where he used to sell candy as a kid; he was contemplating printing a fake charity ID card and getting a village permit to do the same again, he said on the video.
He talks about encountering a woman and her elderly father taking a dog for a walk near Urban's house, recalling the man said something that amused him. And when shown a photo of Urban's house, he acknowledges knocking on it. At first he said the door was closed.
But when Krefft told him the two rings he sold belonged to Urban -- and that they were distinctive family heirlooms, featuring a diamond cut rarely done since the 1920s -- Sanders said the door was open, and that he reached in and took the rings off a ledge near the front door. He said he realized, a few minutes later, that doing so was stupid.
"I wanted so bad to turn around and knock on the door and say, 'Hey, I took these.' I was so scared. I couldn't take the chance," Sanders said on the video.
The video was made after Sanders was arrested on a traffic warrant out of Will County. The questioning was done at the Burr Ridge station because Hinsdale's video-recording system was broken.
Krefft acknowledged Tuesday that Sanders never admitted to seeing, attacking or killing Urban. On the video, Krefft showed Sanders a photo of Urban in the bloody crime scene, then said "This was not supposed to happen."
"You trying to say I did that?" Sanders replied.
"I'm not here to put this on you. I'm here to hear your story," Krefft replied.
Looking at the photo again, Sanders said "That's gruesome."
"I never punched her. I never saw her. I never cut her," he said a few minutes later.
Dr. Hillary McElligott, DuPage County's chief forensic pathologist, testified about the wounds Urban sustained. The main cause of death was skull and brain injuries due to blunt force trauma, she said, including a split of the base of the skull that McElligott described as "uniformly fatal." Urban's throat was slashed nearly ear to ear, and her nose was broken. She had a defensive cut on one hand, and much of her clothing had been torn. All had blood on them, including a tank top that appeared to be soaked in it.
The trial resumes Wednesday.