GLEN ELLYN – The public defender for the Champaign man charged in the 1985 murder of 15-year-old Kristina Wesselman in a field near Glen Ellyn won't be able to claim a now-deceased serial killer was actually the killer in the case.
Michael Jones, 64, has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault in the assault and murder of Wesselman, who attended Glenbard South High School. He is being held without bond. His trial is set to begin at 10 a.m. Jan. 23.
DuPage County Judge George Bakalis ruled Dec. 20 against allowing Andrews' name to be brought up during Jones's trial. Bakalis previously ruled prosecutors can introduce evidence of sex crimes committed by Jones in 1976 and 1977 during the trial.
Ralph Raymond Andrews died in prison in 2006 after being sentenced for the 1991 murder of a Chicago woman and the 1977 murder, rape and aggravated kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl.
"In the course of interviews with investigators, Mr. Andrews listed approximately 24 other victims by first name, one of which was listed as 'Kris,'" the public defender's office wrote in its motion.
Prosecutors wanted to bar Jones from introducing any evidence of the "culpability of Ralph Raymond Andrews." Bakalis ruled in favor of their motion.
"The complete void of evidence of a connection is confirmed by the exclusion of Ralph Raymond Andrews as a suspect through DNA," prosecutors said in their motion. "To allow the defense to even mention Ralph Raymond Andrews would be an improper distraction of inadmissible evidence for the jury and should not be allowed."
Wesselman, a Glenbard South sophomore, was murdered July 21, 1985, while she was walking home from the former Jewel food store near Butterfield Road and Route 53 near Glen Ellyn. She was last seen walking on a well-traveled path back toward her residence in the Valley View subdivision. Wesselman never returned home, and she was subsequently reported missing by her mother.
Her body was found the next day by DuPage County sheriff’s detectives in a field near the path where she was last seen walking. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed eight times, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said at the time of Jones's arrest.
In September 2015, the DuPage County Crime Laboratory informed detectives from the Sheriff’s Office there was a DNA match through the combined DNA index system that identified a specific person as the contributor of the DNA profile obtained from the sexual assault kit performed during Wesselman’s autopsy. Further investigation led by the sheriff’s cold case unit with assistance from the State’s Attorney’s Office led to Jones.
On July 2, 2015, Jones pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic battery in Champaign County. Because it was a felony, Jones was required to submit a DNA sample to the Illinois State Police, Berlin said.
"After that sample was submitted or shorty thereafter, the investigators got notification there was a match," Berlin said at the time.
In September 2015, authorities from DuPage County traveled to Champaign, took Jones into custody and returned him to DuPage County to face the charges against him.
Jones was required to submit to a buccal swab pursuant to a search warrant, with the results of that test further linking him to the crime, Berlin said.
At the time of the sexual assault and murder, Jones was on parole for a 1977 sexual assault in Schiller Park. He pleaded guilty in the case and served less than seven years in prison, Berlin said.