Prosecutors dropped first-degree murder charges against one of three suspects who entered a blind plea deal in the armed robbery and murder of a man at Three Oaks Recreation Area in Crystal Lake last year.
William P. Linke, 51, Michael M. Miller, 34, and Devin J. Peterson, 24, were all charged with first-degree murder, robbery, aggravated battery, concealment of a homicidal death and mob action.
The incident stems from when the Crystal Lake Police Department responded around 2:59 p.m. March 17, 2020, to the 6100 block of Northwest Highway after receiving an open line 911 call.
Crystal Lake Deputy Police Chief Derek Hyrkas said at the time that officers located Linke, Miller and Peterson at the location, one of which was covered in blood.
Further investigation led the officers to a secluded wooded inlet on the west side of Three Oaks Recreation Area where they discovered a deceased 51-year-old man floating in the water, Hyrkas said.
A criminal complaint filed in McHenry County Circuit Court alleges that the victim was struck, kicked, choked and punched. The victim ultimately died after being struck in the head with a rock.
The 51-year-old victim, identified as Robert L. Krikie Jr., also had his wallet stolen from him during the attack.
The three suspects are accused of dumping the man’s body into the water following the attack.
According to Crystal Lake police, the three suspects and the victim were all homeless and acquaintances.
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office reached a blind plea deal agreement with Miller last Friday, court records show.
Miller pleaded guilty to armed robbery and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and prosecutors dismissed the rest of his charges, including first-degree murder.
McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt scheduled a sentencing hearing for Miller for July 16.
The cases against Petersen and Linke are still pending. Linke and Petersen are both scheduled to appear in court next month for status hearings to schedule a trial date.