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Gurnee police officer charged with beating spouse, tried buying ‘murder kit’, prosecutors say

Michael E. Stoner, 34, of Winthrop Harbor.

A Gurnee police officer has been charged with aggravated battery of his spouse and prosecutors say he tried earlier this year to buy a ‘murder kit’ containing items like a shovel and bleach.

Michael E. Stoner, 34, of the 800 block of Geddes Court in Winthrop Harbor, was charged with aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and two counts of domestic battery.

Stoner was accompanied by his attorney when he surrendered to the Lake County jail on Wednesday following an arrest warrant that had been issued on Tuesday.

The charges are based on two incidents, one on April 3, 2018 and another on November 2, 2019, where Stoner allegedly battered his spouse in Winthrop Harbor.

Assistant State’s Attorney Demetri Tsilimigras said during a bond hearing that Stoner abused the woman dating back to December 2016.

“This defendant has consistently threatened this victim and tortured this victim over years. Threatened to kill this victim. Also, he has threatened to kill the victim’s father,” 

Tsilimigras said that an investigation showed Stoner tried buying a “murder kit” with things like Clorox bleach, a shovel, rope, and plastic sheets.

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“Mr. Stoner is vehemently denying these allegations,” said Joseph Zeit, who is representing Stoner in the case.

Stoner has been employed by the Gurnee Police Department as a patrol officer for over seven years.

The Gurnee Police Department said that Stoner was placed on administrative leave after they were informed of the allegations. He will remain on leave pending all court proceedings.

“We take this matter very seriously, and will continue to cooperate any way we can. We remain mindful of the fact that there is a presumption of innocence for all defendants. Therefore we will have no comment on the alleged charges and will allow the matter to proceed through the legal system,” Gurnee Police Chief Brian Smith said.

The judge who signed Stoner’s arrest warrant set his bond at $75,000. Lake County Judge Paul Novak reduced the man’s bond to $40,000 on Wednesday during a hearing after Zeit asked for a recognizance bond.

Stoner is scheduled to appear in court again on July 28 for a preliminary hearing.


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