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Judge Denies Petition For William Curl Plea Withdrawal

Matthew Apgar
Daily Chronicle
DeKalb County judge Robbin Stuckert reads from her 11-page opinion that denies William Curl from withdrawing his guilty plea from 2013.

DeKalb County Judge Robbin Stuckert denied a petition requesting to void a guilty plea for the man convicted of killing Northern Illinois University student Toni Keller.

Judge Stuckert ruled in her 11-page opinion there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that William Curl’s rights were infringed upon throughout the case.

Curl’s lawyer previously argued he had inadequate legal representation before and was not in his right mind when questioned by police. Curl claimed prosecutors coerced him into the guilty plea because they threatened to also charge his son in Keller’s murder.

Prosecutors argued that Curl was coherent during those police interviews and that the term “mentally ill” doesn’t mean unfit for questioning or trial.

“I’m just very thankful for the judge and her very thoughtful ruling,” Stephanie Klein, DeKalb County First Assistant State’s Attorney, said.

Family member John Szatkowski says he reached out to his cousin and Toni’s mother Diane Keller just in case she was able to come and say something in court.

“But I’m glad she didn’t have to do that, because it would’ve been very emotional,” Szatowski said. “So it was good.”

Curl took a guilty plea agreement in 2013 for the crime but still maintained his innocence. He was sentenced to 37 years in prison.

Curl did not appear in court Friday. Curl’s sister refused comment after the ruling.

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