James Ealy murder trial begins in woman's 2006 Burger King death

May 21, 2013 3:39:52 PM PDT
Opening statements have begun in the murder trial of James Ealy, the man accused of strangling Mary Hutchison during a 2006 robbery at a Lindenhurst Burger King.

"There is a name for what this defendant did and it's called first-degree murder," said Jeffrey Pavletic, assistant state's attorney.

It's taken more than six years for this case to come to trial. Ealy,48, is charged with the murder of Hutchinson, a Burger King manager, on November 27, 2006, at the restaurant chain's Lindenhurst franchise.

"You will receive no meaningful evidence that connects James to the crime," said Keith Grant, Lake County public defender.

During today's opening statements, prosecutors and defense attorneys laid out their case.

Pavletic says Ealy, a former Burger King employee, went to the restaurant the day of the murder intending to rob it. In the process, he stabbed Mary Hutchison with a flat head screwdriver, then choked her with the bowtie she wore as part of her uniform.

"She had been stabbed in the back as if she had been poked, 'Open the safe! Open it!'" said Pavletic.

Miles Ten Eyck was the first EMT on the scene.

"She was lying on her stomach, head to the side, some blood pooled by her neck," said Ten Eyck.

Even though it's the first time cameras have been allowed inside a Lake County courtroom, ABC7 Chicago was not allowed to videotape seven out of the eleven witnesses who testified today, among them Hutchison's husband, who struggled to keep composure on the stand.


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