Eddie Mentgen

What was billed as a final pre-trial hearing at the Bureau County Courthouse in Princeton ended with Eddie Mentgen, Jr.’s heading to prison for 35 years.

The 38-year-old man confessed to using a hammer to intentionally kill his girlfriend, 28-year-old Marissa Roberts, in Spring Valley last April. In pleading guilty on Monday, Mentgen dodged a possible 60-year prison sentence. He’d already waived his right to a jury trial, in favor of a bench trial.

With members of Roberts’ family sobbing on one side of the gallery and members of Mentgen’s family sitting stoically on the other, Judge C.J. Hollerich accepted the plea deal the lawyers had worked out.

Emotions boiled over outside the courtroom immediately after the proceedings, as the victim’s family passed in front of the killer’s family and got verbal. Sheriff Jim Reed tried to calm Roberts’ family, but that led to a raw and profane argument between Reed and the victim’s sister.

Later, Bureau County State’s Attorney Geno Cafferini credited LaSalle and Spring Valley police with uncovering evidence that gave the state a strong case.

Assuming he’s around to be released at the end of his sentence, Mentgen will then be on probation for three years.

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