No Death Sentence For Man Who Killed Stepdaughter

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.

  • Roxiology

    Put him on a tall building during a lighting storm holding a lighting rod and let God decide.

  • Nathan

    That jury should be ashamed of themselves. This was a horrific crime that absoluetely deserved the death penalty. Now he gets to live the rest of his life but the mother of this girl will never see her daughter again. Years ago hands down he would of been sentenced to death. Pathetic whats happening to this country

  • Dennis Fritz

    The trouble is, you can’t have the death penalty for some cases and not others. You either have a death penalty, or you don’t. Sure, this guy deserves to be executed. But about 20 other guys have been relaesed from Illinois’ death row because they were found to have been mistakenly convicted. It is better to give this guy life in prison than risk executing an innocent person.

  • Mr. Justice

    D U M B A S S jurors! That is one of the problems with our judicial system. Capital Punishment works. Plus, an extra benefit is we don’t continue to pay over $40,000 per inmate per year to keep them in jail.

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