William Curl Sentenced to 37 Years in Prison for Murder of NIU Student

William Curl was sentenced to 37 years in prison for the 2010 murder of NIU Freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller. Curl accepted the plea agreement this morning in DeKalb County Court. His sister had to be removed from the courtroom for an outburst telling Curl "not to take it."


Supporters of the Keller family don't feel the punishment is enough.


DeKalb County Public Defender Tom McCulloch argues "this is a done deal there is totally limited ability to appeal what was done this morning."


Friends say the Keller family was upset at being left out of the loop. "I think plea deals are always a possibility. Families are aware of them. But did they know this was happening like this and already done? No." explained family friend Thelma Holderness.


Toni Keller went missing in October of 2010. The NIU freshman told friends she was going for a walk in DeKalb's Prairie Park. Two days later her burned remains were found.


Former DeKalb County States Attorney Clay Campbell is saddened by the plea and says it isn't sufficient for someone who raped, murdered and incinerated a young woman.


"It's outrageous to know that at some point in time in the future Mr. Curl has the opportunity to complete his prison term and actually be a free man again," said Campbell.


But DeKalb County States Attorney Richard Schmack says there was a chance had the case gone to trial Curl would not have been found guilty.


"No I would not say that we have an extremely weak case. I will say that this is a case where the outcome was not assured" said Schmack during a press conference.


He cites high-profile cases like the Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson trials as examples where the accused killer walked free.


"Our job is to get a conviction for first degree murder on people that we have charged with first degree murder. And we did that so in that regard no I could never say that we let the family or the community down."


Toni's family thinks otherwise writing on a social networking site "I blame the city of DeKalb for the easy way out to save money, time, and their reputations."


Curl has already served 2 1/2 years of his sentence. He'll be in his seventies when released from prison.   



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