CHICAGO (CBS) — Michael Jones was sentenced Tuesday to 80 years in prison after pleading guilty to the 1985 murder of 15-year-old Kristy Wesselman in west suburban Glen Ellyn.
Last week, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced that Jones entered a guilty plea.
“Kristy Wesselman had her whole life ahead of her,” Berlin said. “She was denied the opportunity to live out her dreams to get married, to have children, because of this defender’s actions.”
The victim’s mom, Sandra Wesselman, gave an 11-minute victim impact statement at Tuesday’s hearing, glancing only once at Jones. She said her life has never been the same since her daughter’s brutal murder.
“It’s a joyful day and a very sad day,” the 78-year-old mother told reporters during a news conference. “I can go home today and try to be a real person — whatever that is.”
Two women who were raped by Jones also were in court Tuesday.
“Michael Jones got what he deserved,” one of the women, Judy Van Kirk, said. “I wish it was a little bit sooner.”
On July 21, 1985, Wesselman left her home in unincorporated Glen Ellyn to go to the Jewel store near her residence. She never returned.
The following day, her partially nude body was discovered in a field between her home and the store. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times. An extensive investigation into her murder yielded no results and the case eventually went cold. The case has remained active since then.
The crime took more than 30 years to solve. A domestic violence conviction forced Jones to provide a DNA sample. It matched samples taken 32 years ago from Wesselman, which was well before the technology was perfected.