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Friday, April 16, 2021

Illinois man sentenced to 80 years for girl’s 1985 death

WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man was sentenced to 80 years in prison Tuesday for the 1985 death of a teenager who left her suburban Chicago home to go to the store and never returned.

Michael Jones, 64, of Champaign pleaded guilty last week in the death of 15-year-old Kristina Wesselman.

“At the age of 64, this is essentially a life sentence,” said DuPage County Circuit Judge George Bakalis, who handed down the punishment. “Based on his conduct, the defendant has earned each and every day of his sentence.”

Jones did not speak during the sentencing hearing.

In her victim-impact statement, Sandra Wesselman said she and her family were denied their right to see what the final results of her daughter’s life would have been. She noted that Kristina didn’t have the chance to attend her brothers’ or sisters’ weddings, nor to get to know her nieces and nephews.

“Our pain from the loss of Kristy will never be completely healed,” Sandra Wesselman said. “My children and I have built lives that are, to all appearances, normal. We are survivors.”

Kristina’s body was found more than 30 years ago in a field between her Glen Ellyn home and the store. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times.

When the investigation failed to turn up a suspect, the case went cold.

Jones was charged in 2015 after being linked to the case through a DNA sample provided after he pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic battery in Champaign County.

At the time of Kristina’s death, Jones had been on parole for two years after serving time for using his car in Chicago to knock a woman off her bicycle and forcing her at gunpoint into his parent’s home, where he sexually assaulted her, according to prosecutors.

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