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  1. #1
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    Default Evidence connects Spokane Valley doctor to wife's murder

    Evidence connects Spokane Valley doctor to wife's murder
    12/19/2002

    Associated Press


    (WILLIAMSPORT, Pa.) Dr. Richard Illes was a suspect in his wife's death almost from the beginning. The two were involved in bitter divorce proceedings, including a custody battle over their young son. And police said the prominent heart surgeon asked strange questions almost immediately after Miriam Illes' body was found.


    Four years after the slaying, Illes was arrested Tuesday in Spokane, Wash., and charged with criminal homicide.


    Prosecutors said in court documents that materials found in Illes' home matched both the .22-caliber rifle believed to have killed Miriam Illes and the homemade silencer used to conceal the crime.


    George Lepley Jr., Illes' attorney, said Wednesday that Illes "absolutely" maintains his innocence, and that he would not challenge extradition. He said there was no new evidence against his client.


    Richard and Miriam Illes met in St. Louis, where he trained as a heart surgeon and she operated a heart-lung machine, and later worked together at Williamsport Hospital. But after their son was born in 1993, the marriage had begun to sour. They separated, and court records show that by 1998 they were involved in a bitter fight over money and custody of their young son.

    Prosecutors said Illes picked up his son for a weekend visit Jan. 15, 1999.

    Miriam Illes was on a long-distance telephone call with a friend that night when a single bullet came through her kitchen window and pierced her heart.
    She was found dead in her home two days later when she did not show up to teach Sunday school.

    Police found prints in the snow from Reebok basketball shoes, and a homemade silencer was found near the back of the house.

    Dropping off his son just hours after his wife's body was found, Illes asked what evidence was found at the scene, prosecutors said. The boy was Illes' alibi - Illes said he was traveling on Route 15 toward his sister's home in suburban Philadelphia at the time of the shooting - but Illes refused to allow his son to speak to police for some 20 months, insisting that a child psychologist be present.

    Letters arrived later at Lepley's office claiming that Illes was being framed and that Mrs. Illes was killed because she was a racist, an accusation her friends deny. "The Lord has sent me to harvest the racist ones," read one letter. But prosecutors discounted the letters as simply rehashing evidence police had already presented to Illes.

    Mrs. Illes' family offered a reward worth $250,000 - some of it money from the doctor that his wife won in the divorce settlement.

    Searches of two homes and a cabin where Illes lived produced material that matched the materials used to make the silencer.

    In June 1999, a .22-caliber rifle - fitted with a scope and with the serial number erased - was found in a rural area of Lycoming County, near Route 15, "the first remote area a person could quickly access, for discarding of evidence, when traveling south away from ... Williamsport," prosecutors said. The rifle matched one once owned by Illes' father.

    Nine months later, a search in the same area turned up a pair of shoes with fibers that matched those found in a vacuum cleaner at one of Illes' homes, prosecutors said.

    Reagan said Illes' son, now 9 years old, was placed in temporary foster care.
    It's probably too late to get justice for JonBenét. Maybe it always was. But knowing where things went wrong is the first step to not going there again. **-- Alan Prendergast-Dec 21, 2006--**

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  2. #2

    Default Good one

    Sounds like he's half-Susan Smith (blaming a phantom black man) and half-Fred Tokars (possibly shooting in front of the child; Tokars hired a hitman tho).

    What will be the defense here? Once you get into the likely scenarios (mistress, insurance money, custody, gun match, forensics) I'm not seeing where there may be surprises.

    I just read about a "shooting through a window at a distance" slaying that happened two nights ago. It takes a pretty good sharpshooter to do that crime. It's also the way the kook who killed Dr. Bernard Slepian operated. "I only wanted to wound his arm so he couldn't do more abortions," was that jerk's defense. He was convicted. But snipers and abortion clinics are natural -- Illes might have worked in that angle.

  3. #3
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    Default His defense?

    Illes is too cheap to hire a prominent defense attorney, even though he is a multi-millionaire. It was his stinginess that motivated him to kill Miriam in the first place. She demanded and received an order for $20,000 a month in child support. Illes was enraged.

    He was also too cheap to hire a hit-man, as Tokars did. Besides, he is known to be an excellent marksman, and control-freak that he is, he believed he could do it better than a hireling.

  4. #4
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    Cool Hey, Doc, want some cheese with that whine?

    Illes ‘Depressed’ Following Return

    Attorney for Man Accused of Killing Wife Not Certain Fair Trial Possible Here

    Philip Holmes Sun-Gazette Staff

    Former heart surgeon Dr. Richard W. Illes Sr., accused in the 1999 shooting death of his wife, “is feeling obviously depressed and pretty down,” his attorney said after visiting his client in prison.

    Illes returned to Lycoming County early Monday after a cross-country trip from Spokane, Wash., where he was taken into custody last month.

    “The shock of his arrest certainly has not worn off yet,” defense attorney George E. Lepley Jr. said Monday afternoon outside the County Prison.

    “Even though from day one, the district attorney’s office and law enforcement implied that he was a suspect, still all in all, I don’t think it ever really sunk in to him that they might actually arrest him,” Lepley said.

    The attorney also said he was not certain that Illes can get a fair trial in Lycoming County — and added that he is troubled by what he sees as an evidentiary omission in court documents filed in the case.

    ****snip****

    Soon after his arrival, Illes was arraigned before District Justice James H. Sortman on one open count of criminal homicide filed by state police.

    Wearing a dark turtleneck and an orange, hooded sweatshirt, Illes made no statement during the five-minute proceeding except to say that he wanted his attorney present.

    Sortman explained that defendants have no right to an attorney at arraignments.

    Since only a county judge can set bail in homicide cases, Illes was automatically committed to the prison.

    ****snip****

    The attorney said that Illes’ separation from his 9-year-old son “is the most demoralizing thing right now” that confronts his client.

    “That’s weighing very heavily on him,” Lepley said. The attorney said he had been told the boy was now staying with his maternal grandmother in Florida.

    A judge in Washington awarded temporary custody to the boy’s maternal aunt, Virginia Butler.

    Since Mrs. Illes’ death, the boy has spent almost all his time with his father. Now, however, Illes “can’t see his son, or talk to him or be around him at all,” Lepley said.

    ****snip****

    “It was always my understanding that they (investigators) retrieved DNA from several pieces of evidence at the scene of the shooting that exculpated Dr. Illes. I did not see any mention of that in the affidavit,” Lepley said.

    “What the affidavit says to me more than anything is that the investigators have all this information and none of it excludes the doctor. They’re thinking ’We don’t have any other suspect that we can point to, therefore it must be the doctor,’” Lepley said.

    ****snip****

    Illes’ arrest had a ripple effect Monday in U.S. Middle District Court, where a judge issued a stay, putting the doctor’s lawsuit for non-payment on his late wife’s life insurance into legal limbo.

    Federal Judge James F. McClure Jr. ordered the stay until the doctor’s criminal case is resolved.

    Illes sued the New York Life Insurance Company for breach of contract for not paying on the policy.

  5. #5
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    Cool Sound familiar?

    “What the affidavit says to me more than anything is that the investigators have all this information and none of it excludes the doctor. They’re thinking ’We don’t have any other suspect that we can point to, therefore it must be the doctor,’” Lepley said.

    This Lepley sounds like a Lin Wood clone.

    There is a reason why LEA often focuses on one suspect....it is usually because of overwhelming evidence that that person did the deed.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Amen LurkerXIV

    The trouble with people like the good doctor is their egos are so out of control that they can't believe they have been caught and they can't imagine anyone would convict them.

    Keep us posted. This is going to be a doozy.

    Tricia

  7. #7
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    Default Yeah Tricia

    I have to snort derisively when defense attorneys say things like "The shock of his arrest certainly has not worn off yet," because you can be sure the shock is that he never believed he'd be arrested.

    I feel sorry for the 9 year old kid.

    Ayeka
    The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
    -- Eden Phillpotts

  8. #8

    Default That Lepley quote, LOL!

    I hadda go back to make sure he was the defense speaking. I don't know what law school he went to but I've never seen an affadavit by a DA that outlines defense issues! Sometimes there's such a fine line between lawyers and comedians.

  9. #9
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    Default Preliminary Hearing Postponed

    The hearing, which was supposed to take place today, has been postponed until February 19.

    You can bet the doctor is complaining, through his lawyer, a local yokel named George Lepley.

    In Pennsylvania, there is no bail option for those whose alleged crimes would lead to a sentence of life in prison. So unless the charges get reduced at the prelim, Illes will not be able to spend his millions for a "Get-Out-of-Jail" card.

    Rumor has it that Illes is seeking the services of attorney William Costopoulos, the premiere defense attorney of PA. Costy is the one who got Jay Smith out of jail. (Smith was convicted in the murder of a PA schoolteacher about 15 years ago. Wambaugh wrote a book about it).

  10. #10

    Default Appreciate the update!

    So I guess he's loosened his purse strings a bit, eh?

    Maybe if we're lucky his hearing will be delayed 40 years.

    Lurker-baby, we should have collaborated on a book on our fave subject, 'cause we've been scooped. I just heard about "Demon Doctos: Physicians as Serial Killers" by Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D. Five cases are featured, some that go back to the 1890s and 1920s. The most recent is Harold Shipman, who may be the most prolific serial killer in history. Actually, I prefer reading about the docs who kill their spouses; I suspect you do, as well. How 'bout that Clara Harris, D.D.S.?!

  11. #11
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    Cool Hi, FedX

    Too bad we missed the boat on "Docs Who Kill". But are we seeing the start of a new trend here with Clara Harris? OK--let's get started on "Dentists Who Kill".

  12. #12

    Default Dentists

    Harris' case reminds me of Betty Broderick's. But Clara picked the wrong county to kill in. Hers has an incredibly high conviction rate, w/ no potential for insanity.

    Creepiest killer dentist I can think of was the guy who gave his patient AIDS. The late Kimberly Bergeron was the patient; I'm blanking on his name.



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