|1992 murder conviction is upheld
By Barbara Bell
Special to the Tribune
Published December 4, 2004
William Carlson's request to have his murder conviction thrown out was denied Friday by a Lake County judge, but Carlson said he plans to appeal.
Carlson, 30, who represented himself at a hearing before Associate Circuit Judge John Phillips, said he deserved a new trial because of problems with the indictment charging him with first-degree murder in the 1990 shooting deaths of his parents.
"It's specifically an attack on the validity of the indictment," Carlson said.
Carlson pleaded guilty in 1992 to killing his father in their Wildwood house. He is serving a 90-year sentence in Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet.
In a plea deal, Carlson avoided a life sentence when prosecutors dropped murder charges in connection with his mother's slaying. But Carlson's sentence for his father's death was extended because the crime was considered heinous and brutal, authorities said.
Carlson argued that because the "heinous and brutal" accusation was not mentioned in the grand jury indictment, it was flawed.
Assistant State's Atty. Jeff Pavletic said Carlson pleaded guilty to killing his father, so his argument did not apply. Carlson waived his rights to a jury trial when he entered the plea, Pavletic said.
"I am going to deny you the relief you request," he told Carlson.
Pavletic said prosecutors were never sure what motivated Carlson, then 16, to kill his parents with a handgun he rented for $100 from classmates at Warren Township High School.
"That was the $64,000 question at the time," Pavletic said. Carlson feared getting in trouble with his father because he had sold some of his father's gold collection, and his parents were Jehovah's Witnesses, the prosecutor said.
A defense psychiatrist said Carlson had been sexually and mentally abused by his parents. But Pavletic doubted that Carlson was mentally ill because he plotted to kill his parents and returned the gun before fleeing to Canada in his parents' car.
"All of those things supported that this wasn't a person who didn't understand the acts he had committed," Pavletic said.
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