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UPDATE: Judge won't reconsider life sentence in Ill. death

UPDATED Thursday, October 17, 2013 --- 3:42 p.m.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) -- A suburban Chicago judge has denied a request to reconsider a life sentence given to a Lake Villa man for the 2006 strangulation death of a Lindenhurst Burger King manager.

Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes made the ruling Thursday in the case of 49-year-old James Ealy.

Jurors convicted Ealy in May in the death of 45-year-old Mary Hutchison of Trevor, Wis.

Ealy's defense attorney, Keith Grant, said Ealy plans to appeal the guilty verdict and sentence. Grant told the judge that life in prison should be reserved for only the most brutal crimes. The Daily Herald reports that Shanes said murder is "the most heinous crime in Illinois."

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, October 9, 2013 --- 2:02 p.m.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) -- A suburban Chicago judge has sentenced a Lake Villa man to life in prison for the 2006 strangulation death of a Lindenhurst restaurant manager.

Jurors found 48-year-old James Ealy guilty in May of killing 45-year-old Mary Hutchison of Trevor, Wis. Prosecutors say Ealy strangled Hutchison with her Burger King uniform bow tie and stole $1,700. Prosecutor Jeffrey Pavletic told the judge on Wednesday that Ealy is "despicable."

Ealy spoke before the sentence was given, denying he committed the crime and saying police "railroaded" him. Ealy's public defender said he plans to appeal the sentence.

Ealy was convicted in 1982 in the deaths of a Chicago woman and her three children. An appellate court overturned the conviction on a technicality.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Saturday, May 25, 2013 --- 9:04 p.m.

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) -- The husband of a woman killed more than six years ago at an Illinois Burger King says a guilty verdict for the attacker brings her family little, if any, peace.

Ken Hutchison's wife, Mary, was strangled in 2006 at the Lindenhurst restaurant she managed. She was 45.

On Friday, a jury convicted 48-year-old James Ealy of suburban Chicago of murder.

Hutchison, of Trevor, tells the Kenosha News (http://bit.ly/12ETNZF ) that his family won't forget Mary, but will try to turn the page. He says doesn't consider the verdict closure -- but says closure would be the death penalty.

Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011, and Ealy faces 20 years to life when he is sentenced.

Mary Hutchison's father, Richard Dean, says he won't get closure until the day he dies.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, May 24, 2013 --- 5:52 p.m.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) -- A suburban Chicago man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2006 strangulation death of a Lindenhurst restaurant manager.

After three hours of deliberations Friday, James Ealy was convicted of killing 45-year-old Mary Hutchison of Trevor, Wis., during a robbery of the Burger King she managed. After the murder, prosecutors said Ealy stole cash from the restaurant safe and headed to a job in Gurnee.

Lake County prosecutors said telephone records and evidence linked Ealy to the murder. However, defense attorney Keith Grant said investigators uncovered no physical evidence putting Ealy in the restaurant on the day of the murder.

The 48-year-old Ealy was convicted in 1982 in the deaths of a Chicago woman and her three children. An appellate court overturned the conviction on a technicality.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted December 13, 2006

Lake County judge today appointed the county's public defender's office to represent the suspect in last month's strangling death of a Burger King manager.

James Ealy is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Mary Hutchison, of Trevor, Wisconsin. Hutchison's body was found November 27th near an empty safe inside the Lindenhurst restaurant where she worked.

Authorities have said that 42-year-old Ealy once worked at the restaurant with Hutchison and that he lived in a Lake Villa apartment complex nearby.

The case has generated national attention, in large part because of an appellate court's decision to overturn Ealy's murder convictions in the 1982 slayings of a pregnant Chicago woman and 3 children.

AP


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