JOLIET (STMW) — The man who shot a couple in their Channahon apartment during a 2009 home invasion has been found guilty of murder and attempted murder.
Matthew T. Edwards, 20, was convicted on four counts by Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak to conclude a stipulated bench trial. The judge, who had already presided over the trials of Edwards’ three accomplices, reviewed the paperwork presented by attorneys on Monday and heard brief closing arguments Friday.
Early on July 7, 2009, Edwards and Jason Orasco broke into the Blackberry Lane apartment shared by Orasco’s friend, Joshua Terdic, and Terdic’s girlfriend, Lauren Vasilakis.
After the pair had robbed and tied them up, Orasco told Edwards they couldn’t be left alive or “they’d snitch.” Edwards straddled Terdic and Orasco on the bed and shot them both in the head. Vasilakis, then 19, survived and was able to free herself and call police while Terdic later died from his injuries.
Edwards’ lawyers argued Vasilakis’ testimony in other trials that the shooter had put a pillow over her head and was behind her did not prove which man pulled the trigger, but Bertani-Tomczak accepted the confession Edwards gave to investigators that night.
Orasco and Mary Vetor, who provided the gun and transportation for the intruders, previously have been convicted of murder and are serving sentences of 75 and 61 years, respectively. Ashley Hill, who accompanied the group and waited with Vetor in a nearby vehicle, agreed to testify against the others in exchange for pleading guilty to home invasion and receiving an 11-year sentence.
Wearing a dress shirt and slacks, but shackled, Edwards showed no emotion when he was convicted and sat down quietly when the proceedings finished. He will be sentenced in February.
Assistant Will County State’s Attorney Mike Fitzgerald said Edwards faces 45 years to life in prison for murdering Terdic and a consecutive sentence of 31 to 55 years for trying to kill Vasilakis.
Vasliakis’ mother, Renee Hareld, members of Terdic’s family and Vetor’s mother attended court Friday.
“The justice system works,” Hareld said after the verdict.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)