WHEATON, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) — It took a DuPage County jury less than an hour to find that a Naperville man was guilty – a second time – of murdering his stepdaughter, but the jury declined to send him back to death row.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, jurors did not side with prosecutors who wanted to see Laurence Lovejoy sentenced to death.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports
During jury selection, some mentioned legislation on the governor’s desk that would abolish the death penalty.
The Illinois Senate and House have both passed the bill eliminating the death penalty. The bill needs Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature to become law.
Lovejoy’s previous conviction and death sentence were overturned by the a higher court over trial errors.
On March 3, 2004, Lovejoy’s stepdaughter, Erin Justice, reported that Lovejoy had raped her. While Naperville police were waiting for DNA results to come back in that investigation, prosecutors say, and the jury agreed, that he murdered the girl to silence her in her mother’s townhouse on the far East Side of Aurora.
He beat, stabbed, poisoned and drowned her, prosecutors said.
“He left her to drown in a pool of her own blood,” DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Pawl said during trial.
Police said Lovejoy then tried make it look like Erin had killed herself.
Lovejoy, 44, formerly of Naperville, was sentenced to death in February 2007, but the Illinois Appellate Court overturned the case amid confusion about key blood evidence.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.