WHEATON (STMW) — Robert Lyons won’t be attending an Avril Lavigne show for decades after a DuPage County jury convicted him of murdering his mother because she wouldn’t arrange tickets for him to one of the pop star’s concerts.
Lyons, 39, faces 20 years to life in prison when he is sentenced for beating and then fatally stabbing Linda Bolek in 2008 in the Carol Stream condo they shared.
Jurors deliberated for barely two hours Wednesday before convicting Lyons of first-degree murder in the brutal slaying, rejecting claims by Lyons’ attorneys that the killing was unintentional.
“I think they reached the right verdict,” said Bolek’s twin sister, Pat Lowry, who was in the courtroom when her nephew was convicted.
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Even though Lyons was an adult, Bolek still tried to help her troubled son, who had struggled with serious psychological and anger problems since he was a teen, Lowry said. Her efforts included allowing Lyons to move back in with her barely a year before she was slain because he needed a place to live, though she resisted pushing him to seek more help for his problems.
“She was a good mother. She did the best she could,” Lowry said.
Lyons flew into a rage and attacked his 61-year-old mother on March 14, 2008, after she refused to call a friend to obtain skybox tickets for him to an upcoming Lavigne concert, DuPage County prosecutors said.
Lyons twice slammed Bolek across the head with a cognac bottle, then stabbed her nine times in the back after she fell to the kitchen floor — an attack so violent the knife blade snapped off in her body, prosecutors told jurors hearing the case. Another knife he used in the slaying bent because he struck the 5-foot-2 Bolek so powerfully, prosecutors said.
Afterward, Lyons threw Drano and other household cleaning chemicals on her body “to humiliate her,” then went shopping, Asst. State’s Atty. Joe Lindt said. Lyons was arrested later that night at a Hooters restaurant in Schaumburg.
“The defendant was angry at his mother and he killed her, plain and simple,” Lindt said. “Because she had the audacity to say no to him that day, because he wanted those concert tickets, he acted out on that anger.”
Lyons’ court-appointed attorneys asked jurors to convict him of second-degree murder, a lesser crime that carries a prison term of 4 to 20 years.
They argued Lyons, who has a history of bipolar disorder, didn’t intend to kill his mother but overreacted when Bolek brandished a kitchen knife as they argued. Lyons said while being questioned by police that he stabbed Bolek twice after she threatened him with a butcher knife.
“It’s not the same as a premeditated, planned-out murder,” Asst. Public Defender Mark Lyon told jurors.
Prosecutors praised the jury verdict, saying it was clear Lyons wanted to kill his mother.
“No one ever deserved to die the way she did at the hands of her own son,” Asst. State’s Atty. Ann Celine O’Hallaren said