Wilson gets 160 years in murder of Indian Head Park teen

SHARE Wilson gets 160 years in murder of Indian Head Park teen

John L. Wilson, who taunted the O’Laughlin family with text messages after the stabbing death of their 14-year-old daughter in 2011, issued a final taunt at his sentencing Friday.

After testifying at the sentencing hearing and walking back to her seat from the witness stand, Brenda O’Laughlin walked by the defense table where Wilson sat.

“Brend, I thought we had a relationship. Seriously,” Wilson said to her.

Brenda O’Laughlin said the sheriff’s deputy wanted her to walk on the far side of the room from Wilson. But she strode right by the table where Wilson was seated next to his defense attorneys.

“It was very important to me to show him that I wasn’t afraid of him,” Brenda O’Laughlin said.

“You stood up to him,” her husband, John O’Laughlin said.

Wilson, convicted of first-degree murder of their 14-year-old daughter, Kelli O’Laughlin, was sentenced to 160 years in prison for murder, home invasion, armed robbery and residential burglary in consecutive sentences that will guarantee he spends the rest of his life in prison.

Judge John J. Hynes cited the brutality of the murder and “the taunting of the family, the cold and calculated way (Wilson) acted before and after the crime, his cavalier attitude exhibited throughout these proceedings are the ultimate example of man’s inhumanity to man.”

In his 30 years on the bench, Hynes said, “I have never seen such a conscious disregard for human life.”

“The cooperation, caring and compassion (shown by the community) is a testament to all that’s good in this community,” Hynes said. “The strength of the O’Laughlin family has brought out the best in the community.”

Wilson was convicted Sept. 15 after a jury deliberated for just two hours.

Brenda O’Laughlin’s voice broke as she talked about how there will always be an empty place at their table for family celebrations, but she spoke angrily when she looked at Wilson and said, after killing Kelli, he had the audacity to text her, “she wanted to tell you something before I killed her,” and “looking at your pic.”

“This evil mind is repulsive to me,” Brenda said.

Before the sentencing phase began, Wilson filed two post-trial motions, one asking for a new trial and one asking for different counsel to represent him.

The judge indicated the motions were submitted by Wilson, as opposed to his attorneys. Hynes asked Wilson whether he wanted to argue the motions.

Wilson replied, “I do not know who you are. I do not know why I am here. The voices told me not to talk to you.”

Wilson then leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes.

Hynes said Wilson claimed he suffers from severe mental illness, he was not allowed to take his medications during the trial and his attorneys failed to challenge the doctors who reported he was fit to stand trial.

Wilson’s attorney, John Paul Carroll, said he and fellow defense attorney Michelle Gonzalez had numerous conversations with Wilson. They would ask him questions and he appeared to understand the questions and answer them.

“As a civilian, I never noticed any problem communicating with Mr. Wilson,” Carroll said.

The judge said during the time when Wilson represented himself, he replied to court orders, filed motions and never gave any sign he was mentally ill.

“I have no bona fide doubt of his fitness to understand the proceedings,” Hynes said.

Wilson also claimed that he was not allowed to testify in his own defense. Carroll said on Sept. 15, Wilson told him he wanted to testify. Carroll said he and Gonzalez recommended he should not, but the choice was his.

Before the defense finished his case, the judge said he asked Wilson if he wanted to testify and stressed that it was his decision. Wilson chose not to testify, Hynes said. He denied both motions for a new trial and new counsel.

During the trial, prosecutors said Wilson traveled to Indian Head Park that day looking for a house to burglarize, and that he broke into the O’Laughlin house by wrapping a red knit hat around a rock and throwing it through a dining room window. They said he was in the home when Kelli arrived home from Lyons Township High School.

An FBI agent analyzed records from cell towers and concluded that in the days after the crime, Wilson’s Cricket phone and Kelli’s Sprint phone moved about the city roughly in tandem. The day after Kelli died, her mother got text and phone messages from her daughter’s phone, including one that said, “she wanted to tell you something before I killed her.”

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