(CBS) — An ex-convict found guilty last month of fatally stabbing a suburban teenager in her home in 2011 was sentenced Friday to 160 years in prison.
A jury in September found John Wilson Jr. guilty in the murder of Kelli O’Laughlin. Prosecutors said the 14-year-old Lyons Township High School freshman interrupted Wilson as he was burglarizing her family’s Indian Head Park residence.READ MORE: Anxiety, Then Relief At South Side Shoeshine Shop As Guilty Verdict Is Read Against Derek Chauvin In Death Of George Floyd
Besides first-degree murder, Wilson was convicted of armed robbery, residential burglary and home invasion.
Prosecutors acknowledged much of the evidence was circumstantial — but strong. Gold coins taken from the O’Laughlin home were traced to Wilson, and so was the teen’s cell phone. Wilson is accused of taunting Kelli’s mother the day after the murder by texting her from her daughter’s phone.
Wilson sat reclined Friday in court in a green jumpsuit, laughing as the judge read part of his criminal record. He also pretended at one point to be asleep, CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports.
The sentence the judge imposed — 160 years – was the maximum.READ MORE: 2 CPD Officers Hurt In Collision Involving Police Vehicle, Jeep
Friends and family of the murder victim gathered outside the courtroom wearing shirts that said “Choose Joy.” “Joy” was another name people called O’Laughlin.
“Justice will never be done because Kelli’s never coming home,” the victim’s mother, Brenda O’Laughlin, said. “But, as far as the sentencing, I am very pleased with it because he will never be out on the streets again to harm another child.”
Prosecutors and Wilson’s defense attorney declined comment. A defense appeal is expected.
Wilson reportedly had spent only three years out of jail since 1991. In that time, he racked up five prior convictions, including for drug dealing, burglary and armed robbery.
His most recent conviction was in September 2002, when he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for vehicle invasion and robbery. He had been paroled on Nov. 16, 2010, having become eligible after serving 50 percent of his sentence.MORE NEWS: 'Don't Test Us': Chicago's Mayor Lightfoot On Plans After Chauvin Verdict