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Judge to announce verdict Thursday in Lake in the Hills home invasion case

A trial began Wednesday for a 42-year-old Maywood man accused of entering a Lake in the Hills home and beating a woman before leading police on a high-speed chase.

Deon Duff, of the 100 block of 20th Avenue, has been detained at the McHenry County Jail since Oct. 26. He appeared in court Thursday on charges of home invasion, aggravated domestic battery, domestic battery, aggravated battery, aggravated fleeing police and criminal trespass to residence.

Before closing arguments, McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge dismissed several charges, ruling there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.

Because no testimony or evidence proving that Duff and the alleged victim were in a dating relationship was presented, Coppedge dismissed two counts of domestic battery and aggravated domestic battery.

The judge also dismissed a count of aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm, since prosecutors failed to show that the alleged victim suffered broken or fractured ribs, as originally alleged in the criminal complaint at the time of Duff’s arrest.

The remaining charges against Duff include home invasion, criminal trespass to residence and aggravated fleeing police.

Coppedge is expected to announce verdicts on those charges Thursday afternoon.

The most serious charge, home invasion, is punishable by as many as 30 years in prison. Prosecutors previously offered Duff a plea deal that would have resulted in a four-year prison sentence, but Duff declined.

The judge on Wednesday heard testimony from the alleged victim’s neighbors and roommates as well as the first responders who handled the investigation. The alleged victim was not present in court Wednesday and prosecutors declined to comment on her whereabouts.

Duff is accused of entering a Cunat Court apartment unit about 1:30 p.m. June 26 without the owner’s permission. The alleged victim was walking her dog outside and tried to re-enter the apartment as Duff was approaching, according to one of the woman’s roommates at the time.

A neighbor, Shannon Flores, called 911 after hearing the woman outside yelling for help, Flores testified.

“When I looked out the window she just kept screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’” the neighbor said in court Wednesday.

Duff then grabbed the alleged victim and dragged her into the apartment, Flores said. The neighbor urged police to hurry as she watched the suspect enter a black Audi and prepare to drive away, according to a 911 call played in open court.

Lake in the Hills Police officer Sean Feely spotted a driver matching the witness descriptions of a Black man in a white T-shirt and tried to stop the vehicle in the area of Crystal Lake Road and Acorn Avenue. A brief chase ensued with the officer’s and the suspect’s vehicles reaching more than 55 mph in a 25-mph zone. Feely ultimately ended the pursuit for safety purposes and returned to the apartment, he said.

Duff’s relationship with the woman or her roommates was unclear. One of the alleged victim’s roommates tried to invoke the Fifth Amendment right not to testify when prosecutors asked how he knew Duff. Ultimately, the man said he knew Duff through the alleged victim but did not elaborate further.

He and his mother, who also lived in the apartment, locked themselves in another room, where they heard but never saw Duff beating the woman, both roommates testified.

The woman eventually was taken to Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital to be treated for bruises to her arms, ribs and head.

The case will resume at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in McHenry County with the announcement of Coppedge’s ruling.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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