Man found guilty in couple's deaths

January 18, 2008 9:06:48 PM PST
A Lake County jury has found a man guilty in a Barrington Hills double-murder trial.The jury heard closing arguments Friday in the trial of Peter Hommerson. Hommerson is on trial for the murders of Marvin and Kay Lichtman, whose bodies were found in the couple's burned-out Barrington Hills mansion. He was a glass worker who was commissioned by the Lichtmans.

Hommerson was found guilty on all counts related to the case. The conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.

"He was a defendant who lied to the police, and every statement he made to the police was shown to be untrue," said Jeff Pavletic, Lake County Asst. State's Attorney.

""I never doubted it for a moment. We always knew that? he was eventually held responsible for his action," said Manetta Quillinan, Lichtmans' niece.

"I hate the word closure, someone else said that earlier, but it came to a conclusion," said Stephen Lichtman, Lichtmans' nephew.

Jurors began deliberating around 2:30 Friday afternoon. Earlier this week, one juror was dismissed because she said she saw Hommerson on America's Most Wanted and said she had already made up her mind that anyone who would flee the country was guilty. An alternate replaced her.

They listened to five days of evidence and testimony, and Friday, attorneys made their final arguments.

On January 23, 1996, the Lichtmans were shot, and their Barrington Hills mansion was set on fire. Prosecutors argued that Hommerson lied and changed his story when questioned by police.

"If he thought Mr. and Mrs. Lichtman had been killed in the fire and had no idea they'd been shot, what reason would he have to deny owning a .22 caliber gun? None. He is the murderer," said prosecutor Jeff Pavletic,

Hommerson fled to Mexico after being questioned by police where he remained for 10 years until American vacationers spotted him on Americas Most Wanted.

Hommerson's defense attorney argued that the evidence leads to someone else being in the home and that Hommerson's experience in Communist Hungary made Hommerson distrust Barrington police.

"You have zero forensic evidence, zero motive, zero eyewitnesses and other people were there and unaccounted for," said defense attorney David Weinstein.