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Trial set to begin in fatal Wonder Lake stabbing

Wonder Lake man charged with first-degree murder in death of roommate’s boyfriend

WOODSTOCK – Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday for the trial of a Wonder Lake man accused of murdering his roommate’s boyfriend.

Richard G. Nielsen, 53, was charged in February 2012 with first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of 34-year-old Jeremy Lechner.

McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer will preside over the trial.

According to police and family members, an argument began over some missing medication and ended badly for Lechner. Autopsy reports revealed he had a single stab wound to his chest that hit his heart.

Lechner had occasionally been staying at the home, at 7607 Orchard Road in Wonder Lake, with a woman he had been dating, Becky Meyers. On his application for a public defender, Nielsen indicated that he had been living at the house for about four months.

Meyers, her brother and Lechner confronted Nielsen over the medication and asked him to leave, at which time an argument ensued.

Nielsen’s defense attorney, Special Public Defender Bill Bligh, intends to argue that his client acted in self-defense. The defense is allowed to introduce limited evidence that Lechner had a previous history of “aggressive and violent” behavior.

Nielsen initially had been charged with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery, but prosecutors upgraded the charges to first-degree murder shortly after his arrest. 

Prosecutors have asked that the defense be prohibited from mentioning Nielsen’s initial charges, saying in court documents that they are “irrelevant.”

The trial is expected to last less than a week.

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