WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock man pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Friday for stabbing a homeless man to death more than four years ago.
Kyle W. Morgan, 28, pleaded guilty to murdering 28-year-old Robin Burton Jr. in 2009 when he repeatedly stabbed Burton in Morgan's apartment. Autopsy results showed that Burton died from a collapsed lung and bleeding from the multiple stab wounds.
The plea deal comes with a maximum sentence of 36 years in prison.
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that Morgan was mentally ill at the time of the murder, but Morgan's attorney, Steven McArdle, said his client is “comfortable with the decision.”
McArdle acknowledged that medical experts were “quite vocal” in their belief that the defense had enough evidence to lead a jury to a possible not guilty by reason of insanity verdict. But McArlde declined to say why he and his client took a plea deal instead.
A verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity” is difficult to obtain, as the defense must prove the person's mental state rendered the person incapable of judging right from wrong.
Morgan's family watched calmly from the front row of the McHenry County courtroom as their son stood in front of Judge Michael W. Feetterer to enter his guilty plea. Morgan glanced twice at his family – once while entering and once while leaving the courtroom – showing no emotion either time.
Shortly after Morgan's arrest in 2009, his family issued a statement saying he suffered from serious mental illness.
On Jan. 18, 2009, Burton's body with numerous stab wounds was discovered by a maintenance worker in Morgan's former apartment at 320 Leah Lane. Court documents say that Burton, whose last known address was in Rockford, also was bludgeoned.
After the attack, Morgan fled Woodstock and was picked up by authorities in Nashville. In Tennessee, Morgan struck two pedestrians with his car after being spooked by a Tennessee state trooper.
He accepted a five-year plea deal for the Nashville incident. He did not fight extradition to McHenry County, where he has been serving his Tennessee sentence since 2010.
At the time of his arrest, the Northwest Herald uncovered a social media page for Morgan, in which he called himself "Thrill Kill Kyle." On the Myspace page, Morgan wrote about his fascination with true crime literature and drinking blood.
His profile was filled with images of women in bondage, and the photos included serial killers, pentagrams and the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombings.
Morgan's sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 17.