Conspiracy sentenced to life in prison for murder of Melissa Lamesch – local Shaw

Conspiracy sentenced to life in prison for murder of Melissa Lamesch – local Shaw

Conspiracy sentenced to life in prison for murder of Melissa Lamesch – local Shaw

OREGON — Calling it a “brutal murder,” Ogle County Judge John “Ben” Roe on Thursday sentenced Matthew Plote, 36, of Malta, to life in prison for the November 2020 slaying of of Melissa Lamesch and her unborn son at full term.

Lamesch, 27, of Mt. Morris, was 9 months pregnant with Plote’s child when she was found dead in her burning home on November 25, 2020.

Plote was convicted on March 22 of killing Lamesch just one day before Thanksgiving and two days before their child was due.

Jurors deliberated for two hours before finding him guilty of four counts of first-degree murder, three counts of intentional homicide of an unborn child and one count each of residential arson, aggravated domestic assault and concealing a death. the murders.

Roe announced the sentence after hearing victim impact statements from Lamesch’s mother, father and sister and arguments from Assistant State’s Attorney Heather Kruse and one of Plote’s defense attorneys, John Kopp.

Gus Lamesch, Melissa’s father, told the court his life was “changed forever” when his home was destroyed and his daughter and future grandson killed in a “premeditated and senseless” act. He said he could not continue living in the house because of the horrors he saw when he was finally allowed inside.

“I went in and saw where she was found on the floor and saw all the baby items strewn about and found her adopted cat Antonio dead under the bed trying to escape the fire,” Gus said. “I couldn’t go back to the horrors there.”

He said Melissa was in the prime of her life and was looking forward to having the baby, which he had already named Barrett.

“The trial was very hard, seeing the monster that killed my daughter,” Gus said. “Melissa and Barrett should still be alive.”

Melissa’s mother Deanna, from Malta, said she and her family lived in fear as the investigation into the death lasted 469 days before Plote was charged.

“He (Plote) had to be free and I lived in fear and anxiety,” Deanna said, adding that Plote worked for Malta EMS as a paramedic, knew where she lived and would drive by her house. “We felt like we were being followed.”

She said she and her family waited 1,213 days for a guilty verdict. “It’s been 1,310 days to this day,” Deanna said.

The deaths of Melissa and Barrett changed her outlook on life, causing her to become withdrawn and affecting her spiritually, Deanna said.

“None of this was supposed to happen. All he had to do was leave,” Deanna said.

During the trial, detectives accused Plote, a Carol Stream paramedic, of strangling Lamesch because he didn’t want the birth of his son to interfere with his “carefree playboy lifestyle.”

In an initial police interview on November 25, 2020, Plote told detectives that Lamesch wanted to be involved with the child but was initially “not on board” but went to her home to “work things out.”

Plote told police he stayed at Lamesch’s house for “about an hour” and they talked at the kitchen table before moving to the couch to have what he described as consensual sex. He said he then left the house out the front door.

He chose not to take the stand during the jury trial.

Cassie Baal, Lamesch’s older sister, told jurors that she was on the phone with her sister when Plote showed up at the family’s childhood home the day she died. “She said she would open the conversation quickly and call me right back,” Baal testified.

Prosecutors argued that Lamesch never called Baal back because Plote killed her and then set the house on fire.

At the sentencing hearing, Baal said her sister had “joy in her voice” before the “evil” arrived at her door. She said she was continually “swimming in pain” and regretted the things she allegedly said during the phone call.

“If I had told him not to go to the door. If I had known what was about to happen to her, maybe we wouldn’t be here today,” Baal said through tears.

Kruse argued that Plote intentionally endangered an entire neighborhood when he set the house on fire after killing Melissa.

“This is an ugly crime,” Kruse said. “The sentence should also deter anyone else from ever crossing that line.”

She said the murders were particularly “sick” because Plote had been employed in a profession that was supposed to help people.

“This is a horror story that Melissa and her family never saw coming,” Kruse said. “This was a pregnant woman and her child. If he could do this to his own child, no one is safe from him. This was a cruel crime. She trusted this man. He let him in the house.”

Kruse supported the life sentence and said the evidence at trial indicated that Melissa died while fighting for her life and that of her child.

A forensic scientist at the Illinois State Police Forensic Laboratory in Rockford testified that Plote’s DNA was found in fingernail scrapings taken from Lamesch’s right and left hands. He also said that the sperm found in Lamesch’s vagina also matched Plote’s profile, as did the cheek swabs taken from the dead child.

Two medical examiners, Dr. Mark Peters and Dr. Amanda Youmans, told jurors that Lamesch was strangled to death before firefighters retrieved her from her burning home.

They testified that the scratches on Lamesch’s face and scalp and the bruising on his legs and thighs occurred before he died, and no elevated levels of carbon monoxide were found in Lamesch’s blood. Her “term male fetus” had no abnormalities. Lamesch also had minimal thermal injuries, they testified.

Youmans said Lamesch’s neck, face, eyes and larynx showed signs of strangulation; hemorrhaging in her neck muscles was also caused by pressure applied to that area; and when he cleaned the soot and debris from Lamesch’s body, he discovered several injuries that he said were consistent with “blunt force.”

Those injuries, Youmans said, were found on Lamesch’s forehead, head and temple and were consistent with “multiple blows to her head.”

“Her injuries were consistent with her fighting back,” Kruse said, arguing for a life sentence. “The terror she must have felt while fighting for her life and her child’s life … this defendant should never be free. This is a just sentence for this man’s action to wipe out these two lives.”

Plote’s attorney, Liam Dixon, said Plote spent his entire career helping people as a paramedic and said he was also an Eagle Scout. “He (Plote) has no criminal record,” Dixon said. “We ask the court to take this into consideration.”

When Roe asked if he wanted to make a statement before sentencing, Plote said quietly, “I share the pain and loss of Melissa and Barrett.”

Roe said he considered all the arguments and evidence and, in addition to the life sentence, sentenced Plote to 60 years in prison for the child’s death and 15 years in prison for setting fire to the Lamesch home in an attempt to cover up the deaths . The sentences will be executed concurrently.

Roe said the sentences were appropriate despite Plote’s lack of criminal record when he found Lamesch was “fighting for her life and her little boy’s life” for 4-6 minutes when she was strangled to death.

Firefighters Mt. Morris testified that they were called to Lamesch’s home, 206 S. Hannah Ave., around 4:30 p.m., Nov. 25, 2020, and forced their way into the home, where they found Lamesch lying on the kitchen floor unconscious. just breathe. and covered in soot and debris.

When she was dragged from the burning home and placed in an ambulance, there was no electrical activity in her heart and she was pronounced dead at 4:54 p.m., firefighters said.

Lamesch was a 2011 graduate of Oregon High School and was an emergency medical technician at Trace Ambulance Service in Tinley Park. She moved back into the family home in October 2020 and was due to induce labor on November 27.

The lawyer’s reaction

Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock said he was pleased with the sentence. “We think the court got it right,” Rock said. “This crime and justice demanded a natural life sentence. I would like to thank law enforcement and Assistant State’s Attorneys Heather Kruse and Allison Huntley for their hard work and dedication to this case.”

Defense attorney John Kopp said he and Dixon plan to appeal. “We understand the court’s position. We believe we have more issues to address on appeal and our client intends to do so. Our hearts are full of family. We are very sorry for their loss,” Kopp said.