WOODSTOCK – After about three hours of deliberation, a jury Wednesday acquitted a Lakemoor man on charges of breaking into his on-and-off girlfriend’s home and punching her repeatedly in the head.
Robert L. Hilt, 36, had faced between six and 30 years in prison if convicted of home invasion. He also was charged with two counts of domestic battery.
Hilt and the alleged victim have known each other since they were 11, dated for about four years and have a child together.
The woman had an emergency order of protection against Hilt that expired in early September 2011. A final order was entered, but Hilt did not know about it, said his attorney, Brian K. Stevens.
The alleged victim, whose mother lived with her, testified Tuesday that her daughter asked Hilt to come back into the home to help with the couple’s daughter.
Hilt took off for about 36 hours, had a disagreement and left again, the alleged victim said. She said he then broke into her home by knocking out a window pane to open a door, forced his way in and began beating her in the back of the head.
A deputy testified that he went to the home and found Hilt lying on the road with blood on his face. Hilt eventually was taken to a hospital and told police that several of the woman’s relatives had beat him up that night.
During closing arguments, Stevens pointed out that the woman had invited Hilt back into the home. “She can’t just turn it on and off like a light switch,” Stevens said. “If she’s saying come back, he has authority. She can’t just switch it like that and now call this a home invasion.”
Prosecutors, however, said that the final order of protection had been signed by a judge and it wasn’t up to the woman.
Stevens also pointed to a voicemail the alleged victim left for the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office saying she would testify that her statement to police was a lie. She wrote a letter recanting, as well.
When she took the stand, however, she said Hilt coerced her into doing that by saying that their daughter had just lost her grandma and it would be bad if her father went away, too.
Prosecutors also pointed to police photographs of the woman on the night of the incident. They showed red marks on a cheek, consistent, they said, with her face being smashed into the floor while being punched in the back of the head.
Stevens, however, questioned why there were no photos of the back of her head.
“If that really happened, wouldn’t those photographs be much more disturbing?” Steven said. “Those photographs really show nothing.”
Outside of court after the verdict, Hilt said he hadn’t been worried. He said the entire incident was a coverup for the beating by his ex’s family members.
Hilt still has a misdemeanor case pending on a charge that he violated the terms of his bond. Since December, he has worn an ankle device with GPS tracking, which now will be removed.
Hilt said he looks forward to getting back to work as a machinist.