BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man admitted to stabbing his wife following a dispute over material on her cellphone, McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers said at a Wednesday hearing where the man's bond was set at $5 million.

In his interview with police, Monroe Elbert also admitted to injuring his 8-year-old stepson during two incidents last year, said Chambers.

Elbert, 50, is charged with four counts of murder in the death of Nicole Elbert, 30, and two counts of aggravated battery involving the boy.

Elbert sat with his arms folded and did not speak during the bond hearing beyond giving his name to Associate Judge Pablo Eves. Elbert must post $500,035 to be released.

A public defender was appointed to represent Elbert.

According to a statement read in court by Chambers, Elbert told police his wife came to their apartment at 610 N. McLean St. on Monday and went upstairs to pack her belongings. The two became involved in an argument over activity on her cellphone.

Elbert told police he stabbed her multiple times with a large butcher knife, said Chambers.

Bloomington police received a call at 2:37 p.m. Monday from a man who said he had killed his wife. When they arrived, they saw Monroe Elbert outside the home with a large knife and wearing what appeared to be blood-stained clothing. 

The victim was found in an upstairs bedroom with severe injuries to her neck, according to Chambers.

In his statement to police, Elbert admitted he had lied in July and October about injuries that sent his stepson to the hospital, said Chambers.  

The boy was taken to the hospital in July with a head wound that required five staples. Elbert and his wife told medical staff the child fell while playing on the stairs.

In October, hospital staff were given various accounts by family members of how the boy suffered a fractured leg, said Chambers, before settling "on the story that the defendant had been playing rough with (the child) and kicked his feet out from under him, causing him to fall and break his leg."

The child denied any abuse when he was interviewed Oct. 11 at the McLean County Children's Advocacy Center, said Chambers, adding that the abuse charges were filed after new information was developed during the murder investigation.

After an investigation into the alleged abuse, the Department of Children and Family Services removed the child from the couple's care. Nicole Elbert had four other children, but who they are living with was not discussed in court.

If convicted, Monroe Elbert faces up to 60 years on each count of the child abuse charges and an additional 20 to 60 years on the murder charge.

A Feb. 16 arraignment is scheduled.

Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny

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