ELGIN, Ill. (STMW) — The man convicted of stabbing 83-year-old Roscoe Ebey to death in 2007 will be resentenced, after appellate court judges ruled that a Kane County judge placed too much emphasis on Ebey’s character when considering the man’s sentence.
Hector Mauricio was previously sentenced to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to stabbing Ebey, a World War II veteran, 36 times on May 29, 2007 at Ebey’s Aurora home.
Mauricio appealed his sentence, arguing that the trial court placed too much weight on an improper aggravating factor: Ebey’s character.
The Second District Appellate Court of Illinois agreed Monday with Mauricio’s argument.
Appellate court judges wrote in their opinion that it could not be proven that the trial court judge did not improperly weigh this factor when considering Mauricio’s sentence.
During Mauricio’s sentencing hearing Kane County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Sheldon pointed out Ebey’s impact on society before handing down Mauricio’s sentence.
“The court has the utmost respect for him, for his service to this country. He was a very good man, there is no question about that,” Sheldon said.
Sheldon continued to say that because Mauricio had been a respectful and faithful man during his incarceration, he might not impose an extended-term sentence for his crime.
“But, I will under these circumstances, in considering a very, very fine man, who was a great value to his family and society, his life was cut short,” Sheldon said.
Mauricio filed a motion to have his sentence reconsidered based on the concept that the court erred in imposing the higher sentence based on the court’s finding that Ebey was of great value to society. He raised 19 other issues, as well.
His motion, however, was denied.
Mauricio once again appealed the court’s ruling.
On Monday, the appellate court agreed with his argument.
“Of course, we do not disagree with any of the trial court’s sentiments [about Ebey],” the appellate court opinion stated. “Nevertheless, the trial court’s implication was as improper as it was unmistakable: because Ebey was a ‘very good man,’ defendant’s crime was more serious than it otherwise would have been.”
On appeal, Mauricio also argued that not enough weight was placed on mitigating factors when his sentence was considered.
He said that he grew up in an “urban war zone” where his father had murdered his brother, another brother had been incarcerated, and his mother was an alcoholic.
He said since incarceration, he had earned his GED, become a man of faith, and has tried to better his life.
The appellate court did not rule on this consideration, but wrote that the issue will be addressed at Mauricio’s resentencing hearing.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)