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Elgin man pleads guilty to attempted murder in Crystal Lake

Published: Monday, May 5, 2014 3:27 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, May 5, 2014 11:55 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – Flanked by family and supporters, Kelly Krause watched as her ex boyfriend and father of her child admitted to breaking into her townhouse in the middle of the night and stabbing her repeatedly, leaving her with a permanent scar on her cheek.

Krause was sleeping a room with her then boyfriend James McGill, when prosecutors said Jimmy Bell, broke in through a downstairs window, and into the couple's locked bedroom. Krause's child with Bell was asleep in a room across the hall.

Bell, 31, of Elgin, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts each of attempted murder and armed violence. The plea deal was accepted by McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather.

He entered a blind plea, meaning there was no agreement between attorneys on a possible sentence.

Bell faces a minimum of 20 to 60 years in prison. Whatever sentence the judge imposes after a hearing on July 24, will be served consecutively, and at 85 percent.

McGill fought the attack that happened at 4 a.m. on July 2, 2013, but between he and Krause, they were stabbed 23 times, Assistant State's Attorney Dave Johnston said. Krause and McGill both survived, but were taken to the hospital in critical condition with injuries to the face and torso that required surgery.

Bell fled the scene and eventually was apprehended six days later in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Before he was caught, he made a series of phone calls to family and friends, in which he admitted to stabbing Krause and McGill. On the calls, he said he expected to "go to jail for a long time."

Police collected a host of evidence from the Crystal Lake home that pointed to Bell, Johnston said. Bell's shoes were left at the scene, a bag with his employer's logo also was found. A knife with Krause's and McGill's blood was recovered from his car.

All other charges against Bell were dropped in exchange for his guilty plea.

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