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McHenry man's death closes 2007 murder-for-hire case

WOODSTOCK – Although he vowed an eventual trial, a McHenry man accused of hiring a hit man to kill his son has died – ending legal wrangling that began in 2007.

William G. Gersch, 64, had a stroke in May and died shortly after, said his attorney, Matthew Haiduk.

Gersch was scheduled to appear for a fitness hearing Thursday before McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt. Instead, Haiduk presented the judge with Gersch’s death certificate.

In March 2007, Gersch was arrested by FBI agents and McHenry County sheriff’s deputies at a Janesville, Wis., restaurant. Authorities said it was there that Gersch met an undercover agent to discuss the murder plot.

Gersch gave the agent $2,500 and promised to pay the rest after his son was killed, police said, because he blamed his son for Gersch’s own failed marriage and for preventing him from seeing his grandchildren.

The same day that his father was arrested in connection with the alleged plot to kill him, William J. Gersch, 41, was arrested on unrelated drug charges. He pleaded guilty in 2010 and was sentenced to two years in prison.

The elder Gersch’s case was continued time and time again, as prosecutors expressed frustration with each continuance, the most recent was because the man was weak and ill with lung cancer.

But throughout his legal battle, Gersch maintained his innocence.

“It’s unfortunate. His last dying wish was to get this off his conscience,” Haiduk said.

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