Rockford stabbing suspect Christian Soto ordered to stay in jail until trial, shouted at judge

22-year-old called judge 'a puppet,' said 'only God can judge me'

Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Rockford stabbing suspect shouts at judge in court: 'You're a puppet'
Rockford, IL stabbing spree suspect Christian Soto appeared in court Tuesday after four people were killed and seven others injured last week.

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WLS) -- The man charged with killing four people and injuring seven others in an alleged 20-minute attack in Rockford was in court Tuesday.

Christian Soto will remain in jail until his trial, a judge ruled Tuesday morning.

The 22-year-old Rockford man is charged with multiple counts of murder, attempted murder and home invasion with a dangerous weapon in connection to last Wednesday's rampage.

Only God can judge me
Rockford stabbing suspect

The victims included 63-year-old Romona Schupbach and her 23-year-old son, Jacob Schupbach, who were stabbed, and 49-year-old mail carrier Jay Larson, who neighbors said was run over twice by Soto after being stabbed, as he fled the neighborhood.

Larson, a 25-year veteran of the post office, was honored Tuesday, with a procession of other mail trucks. They followed his delivery route, which was lined with signs, blue lights and balloons.

A visitation is being held Tuesday evening in Rockford, followed by a funeral Wednesday.

His is the first of several funerals in the coming days.

RELATED: Rockford stabbing attack victims ID'd, suspect charged after 4 killed, 7 hurt with knife, bat, truck

Fifteen-year-old girl Jenna Newcom was fatally beaten with a bat, as she was watching a movie in her basement with friends on spring break.

Seven others were also injured.

A memorial for the victims is growing.

Prosecutors said a motive remains unclear, but they also said Soto told investigators he was high on marijuana.

SEE ALSO: Rockford stabbing attack victims ID'd, suspect charged after 4 killed, 7 hurt with knife, bat, truck

They said Soto claims one of the victims gave it to him and that he believed it was laced with a strong narcotic.

But prosecutors said Soto was conscious throughout the entire rampage and recalled details of each attack.

Before Wednesday, Soto had no more than a criminal damage to property charge on his record in Winnebago County. That charge was later dismissed.

Courtroom observers Tuesday, including the relatives of the four killed and seven injured, were ordered to leave the Winnebago County courtroom during the brief but tumultuous hearing.

Soto appeared in an orange prison uniform, wearing restraints around his waist.

He stood next to his public defender, and shouted at Judge Scott Paccagnini several times.

He said, "You're a puppet."

"You're from the devil."

"Only God can judge me."

The judge ignored Soto's outbursts, but agreed with prosecutors that the suspect poses a real and present threat to the community.

Several members in the gallery also responded and were warned by security to keep quiet.

The judge scheduled an April 15 arraignment Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.