Man who raped and murdered Elgin toddler released on parole

  • Cayce Williams

    Cayce Williams

Daily Herald report
Updated 2/25/2021 8:20 PM

A former Elgin man who was sentenced to 48 years in prison for the rape and murder of a toddler in 1997 has been paroled.

Cayce Williams, now 47, pleaded guilty in 2006 to one count each of first-degree murder and predatory criminal sexual assault in the death of 20-month-old Quortney Kley, a daughter of his then-girlfriend.


Because of more lenient sentencing laws at the time he was charged, Williams had to serve just 50 percent of his sentence. The Truth in Sentencing law would have kept Williams in prison much longer, but it was struck down before later being reinstated.

He received credit for more than nine years he spent in the Kane County jail before his guilty plea.

According to ABC 7, father Jesse Kley drove from Missouri to be outside the prison when his daughter's killer was released.

"We wanted the death penalty to begin with," Kley told ABC 7.

"We knew nothing about Truth in Sentencing. We assumed he would do 100% for the murder."

Williams had seven different defense attorneys and two judges assigned to his case, which was beset by delays as prosecutors pursued a death sentence.

"I never believed he would get the death penalty, but I thought there was a real possibility he could get life in prison," public defender David Kliment said after Williams was sentenced. "Forty-eight years is not a kiss, but it gives him a chance to show he can be rehabilitated and get out."

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Williams was arrested after he brought Quortney to an Elgin hospital, saying he found her unconscious and not breathing while he babysat the child and her older sister.

Police said he later told them he sexually assaulted Quortney and squeezed her head in his hands until she stopped breathing, then tried to make the killing look like an accident.

The McHenry County sheriff's office said in a news release Thursday that Williams will live in an unincorporated area near Crystal Lake and has registered as a child murderer and sexual predator.

"I understand the resident's concerns with Williams' release into our community. I want to reassure the residents that we proactively and continually verify all of our registered sexual offenders' information to ensure that they comply with the Illinois Sexual Offender Registration Act," Sheriff Bill Prim said in the news release.

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