Triple-fatal stabbing suspect must give DNA

April 20, 2009 4:39:26 PM PDT
The man accused in the fatal stabbings of three members of a family last week appeared in court to face multiple murder charges.A judge has granted prosecutors permission to obtain DNA samples from suspect D'Andre Howard, charged in the murders.

The order from Judge Jill Cerone-Marisie came during a hearing Monday during which prosecutors said Howard's DNA would be compared with blood from palm and fingerprints found on a kitchen knife and bloody footprints around the house.

Prosecutors say 20-year-old D'Andre Howard used a butcher knife to kill his girlfriend's sister, father, and grandmother.

ABC7 has learned on Monday that Howard was bonded out about an hour before he allegedly committed the murders

The mother of Howard's girlfriend was also stabbed and she remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Crisis counselors remained on hand at Conant High School for classmates of Laura Engelhardt.

"We've been friends all through high school so it's hard meeting her and losing her. Jenna Verity, victim's Friend

Classmates paid silent tribute to 18-year-old Laura Engelhardt. Her classmates are struggling with her death, as are stunned relatives and friends.

A judge denied the 20-year-old bond while ordering him to provide D.N.A. samples, including blood, fingerprint, and footprint impressions. Investigators say Howard attacked members of the Engelhardt family with a knife after an argument with the girlfriend and mother of his child, Amanda.

Howard's attorney says his client, a former ward of the state, suffers from mental illness.

"At this point, I think that the paramount issue is to get to the bottom of his mental issues, to discover what they are and to not only identify the source of the problem but to try to rectify those," said James Mullinex, Howard's attorney.

While his attorney tries to use that defense to give some sort of response or answer as to why his client allegedly committed these crimes, court records are also showing Howard was violent toward a previous girlfriend. She says Howard attacked her and made threatening phone calls. There are now two expired orders protection against him, one in 2006 and one in 2007.

Amanda Engelhardt was not hurt in the

In less than an hour, Jeff Engelhardt lost his sister, father and maternal grandmother inside his family's Hoffman Estates home.

Police say Howard believed his 23-year-old girlfriend was cheating on him. He confronted her at her parent's home.

Prosecutors say Howard armed himself with a kitchen knife, then used yarn to tie-up his girlfriend's sister Laura, a senior at Conant High School, along with her mother and grandmother.

For nearly 45 minutes the three victims lay bleeding.

"The defendant's girlfriend repeatedly begged to let her call 911, anyone to call 911 but he ripped the phone jacks from the wall and kitchen," said McCarthy.

"It's just sick, it's just sick. How someone could do this to this family is beyond me," said Gayle Irvin, the victims' neighbor.

Records show Howard's parents' rights to custody were terminated when he was 14. Five years ago as a juvenile, he was charged with criminal sexual abuse. He violated his probation. In 2008, Howard was charged with battery. Lake County authorities currently have an order of protection against him.

For Jeff Engelhardt, a student at Southern Illinois University, the painful process of healing promises to be a long one.

"They were all my best friends in different ways. You take one away and I'm a completely different person," said Jeff Engelhardt.

Prosecutors indicate they may seek the death penalty, although there's currently a moratorium on executions in Illinois.


Load Comments