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Jury selection begins Monday in Sheridan killings

Jury selection begins Monday for a Sandwich man accused of killing his former in-laws and trying to kill his ex-wife.

Donald Fredres, 38, stands trial next week for multiple felonies led by first-degree murder. He faces life in prison (Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011) if accused of shooting Gregory and Brenda Barnes, both 62, last spring in their Sheridan home.

Fredres also faces companion charges for allegedly trying to kill his ex-wife, who sustained minor injuries when Fredres allegedly fired a gun into her front door.

Fredres appeared Thursday for a brief final pre-trial conference, during which the Public Defender’s signaled they are ready for trial. Actually, attorneys were prepared on Jan. 10, a trial setting canceled only by an uptick in COVID-19 infections.

Opening statements are expected Tuesday morning. The jury could begin deliberations Thursday or Friday depending on whether Fredres elects to take the stand.

Fredres set off a brief manhunt but was apprehended early St. Patrick’s Day 2021 in a field near Sheridan Correctional Center. Nearby residents were ordered to stay home and secure their doors and a local school district canceled classes while he was at large.

During a bond hearing (he is held on $5 million), it was revealed Fredres provided a statement in which he admitted traveling to the rural Sheridan home of his former in-laws, demanding to know the whereabouts of his ex-wife. When they refused to comply, Fredres allegedly opened fire.

Fredres told police he subsequently learned where his ex-wife had moved and fired into her door, injuring her.

Fredres is La Salle County’s first double murder suspect since 2007, when Keith Mackowiak was charged with bludgeoning an elderly Seneca couple. Mackowiak is serving life without parole.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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