Police: Man fatally stabbed Kankakee doctor, slashed his own threat during burglary

October 14, 2012 8:01:01 AM PDT
Police say a suspect is in custody after a doctor was stabbed to death and his wife critically injured by the knife-wielding intruder inside their Kankakee home on Friday morning.

Police have yet to offer a motive for the crime that has claimed the life of one of Kankakee's most beloved doctors.

Investigators say that their probe into the crime is ongoing. They have yet to provide details about a motive.

Officers said they discovered the suspect just a few blocks away from the downtown Kankakee area, after they say he allegedly called friends about the attack, and those friends called 911.

Phillip L. Horrell, 35, is being held on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder after police say he attacked Kankakee doctor James Goldenstein and his wife, Betty.

"The hearts and the prayers of the Kankakee Police Department and the citizens of Kankakee go out to victims and their family," said Larry Regnier.

Horrell will be formally charged when he is released from the hospital.

Authorities say the Bradley man is a convicted burglar who was paroled from Dixon Correctional Center October 10 after serving three years of an eight-year term.

"I fully believed that if Phillip Horrell had served his full term, this tragic event could have been avoided," said Kankakee States Attorney Jamie Boyd.

"Phillip Horrell was not released early from the Department of Corrections," wrote Illinois Department of Corrections spokesperson Stacey Solano in a statement. "Eligible offenders in Illinois receive day for day credit by state statute, and he was discharged from the system after serving his full sentence under the law."

Police said the 81-year-old retired physician died and his wife of the same age was critically injured after the Bradley man allegedly attacked the couple in their home early in the morning.

"I don't know any of the details of what actually happened, it is just a shock that something like this would happen here," said neighbor Harold Keegan.

Kankakee police said Horrell slit his own throat and told officers he killed two people at the Westwood Road address where the couple was found.

"The preliminary report is multiple stab wounds and superficial wounds to the head, neck and chest," Regnier said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Goldenstein is being praised by those who knew him.

He began practicing medicine in Kankakee in 1962. In 1976, the gynecologist was elected president of the medical staff of Riverside Medical Center, then known as Riverside Hospital.

"Even though he retired over 10 years ago, his impact is still felt," said Dr. Robert Taylor. "People feel and have fond memories of Dr. Goldenstien. He was kind."

"I just don't understand this level of evil. This is just an evil act."

Many colleagues and friends were preparing to host a tribute to mark his 50th year anniversary of his contributions to the medical community in Kankakee.

Mrs. Goldenstien's condition is improving. She has been upgraded from guarded to serious but stable condition.

The suspect remains hospitalized, under police guard.


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