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Monroe Elbert enters a courtroom for a hearing in March at the McLean County Law and Justice Center, Bloomington. 

BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man will be sentenced Aug. 23 after pleading guilty to the fatal stabbing of his wife, who was preparing to leave him.

Monroe Elbert, 51, pleaded guilty but mentally ill. He was charged with killing Nicole Elbert at their residence in the 600 block of North McLean Street on Feb. 5, 2018. Prosecutors say Elbert admitted to police investigators that he stabbed his wife in an upstairs bedroom as she was packing her things to leave.

Elbert also pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic battery against a minor, identified previously in court as his stepson. Court documents indicate Elbert was angry with the boy in the fall of 2017, then twisted the boy’s leg, causing a fracture in two places. Family members, including the boy, were convinced to lie to investigators about how the injury occurred, said Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Koll.

McLean County Judge Scott Drazewski on Tuesday accepted a plea agreement of a four-year prison term on the domestic violence charge, which will be served consecutively with the still-undecided sentence on the murder charge. Elbert must serve at least 85 percent of that term, but will receive credit for time served since his arrest in February 2018.

Elbert is expected to receive a sentence between 20 and 60 years for the murder. Drazewski will make that decision, since the prosecution and defense teams could not agree on the length of sentence. Elbert will also receive mental health treatment.

“He suffers from schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and profound cannabis usage,” she said. “He hears voices that tell him to kill or harm others.”

The finding recognizes Elbert’s history of mental illness. The ruling differs from an insanity plea, in which a person is deemed insane at the time of the incident and cannot be held legally responsible for their actions.

In those cases, the defendant is confined to a mental health facility until they recover or is civilly committed if they do not recover within what would have been their maximum sentence.

Koll told the court that prosecutors were prepared to bring evidence that Elbert admitted to stabbing his wife and injuring the youth, but pointed to the findings of a mental illness report where Champaign psychiatrist Dr. Lawrence Jeckel determined that Elbert suffered from mental illness.

“We accept the findings that he has mental health issues,” he said.

Three other counts of murder and one other aggravated battery charge were dismissed in the plea deal.


Photos: 2018-19 McLean County jail mugshots

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Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow

Agriculture Reporter

Agriculture reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.