WOODSTOCK – The Holiday Hills shooter convicted of ambushing sheriff’s deputies who responded to his home in the middle of the night will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Scott B. Peters, 52, was sentenced Thursday to 135 years in prison. He must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, dropping his prison term to a minimum of 114 years.
A jury found Peters guilty on 15 felonies, including six for attempted murder of a police officer – two for each officer at whom he shot.
According to testimony from the trial in April, Peters shouted: “I’m a U.S. Army paratrooper. I hope you’re ready to die today,” and “Airborne!” before firing more than a dozen rounds through his front door at McHenry County sheriff’s deputies. The deputies were responding to a well-being check on Peters’ wife Oct. 16, 2014.
Peters’ attorneys, assistant public defenders Angelo Mourelatos and Rick Behof, unsuccessfully argued Peters didn’t know it was deputies responding to his home in the middle of the night and he believed them to be intruders.
Jurors, however, found not only did Peters know they were law enforcement, but he attempted to kill them. Witnesses at the trial said Peters continued firing on deputies Dwight Maness and Khalia Satkiewicz as they fled for safety.
Maness was shot in the back and the left leg and remains wheelchair-bound. He was not at Thursday’s sentencing because he was back in the hospital after undergoing a 15th surgery.
“Today I cannot even be in court to face the coward who shot me, because I’m lying in a hospital bed after my 15th surgery,” Maness said in a statement read by sheriff’s Sgt. Travis McDonald.
Maness’ right leg broke this week because it was weakened from multiple bone marrow retrievals to repair his left leg. Maness has vowed to walk again.
“The bullet has broken my leg, but not my spirit,” he said.
Satkiewicz was shot in the leg and has recovered, but she has not returned to work. She hopes to return to active duty by July or August.
“My kids’ faces ran across my mind, and I prayed to God: ‘Please don’t let me die. My kids need me,’ “ she said.
As the two deputies ran for cover, a third deputy, Eric Luna, returned Peters’ fire. Luna was uninjured.
Peters fled the scene and led police on a 16-hour manhunt.
One by one, the families of the wounded deputies spoke at the sentencing hearing about how the shooting affects them today. They spoke of physical and mental exhaustion, therapy sessions and strained relationships.
“May God have mercy on your soul, and may your body rot in jail,” said Maness’ father, Dwight Sr.
Sue Maness recalled seeing her husband for the first time after he was shot. At the hospital, he apologized to his wife, and she asked why.
“I promised you I would always come home to you, and I broke that promise,” Sue recalled.
Satkiewicz’s 8-year-old son Nicholas said: “My mommy is a hero. I’m thankful God and the other officers saved my mommy.”
Robert Satkiewicz, Khalia’s husband and a master sergeant with the Illinois State Police, was frustrated he couldn’t go hunt for the man who shot his wife, as he laid by her hospital bed.
“You’re lucky I wasn’t there or you wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
“It wasn’t just an officer that he tried to kill. That was my wife, my children’s mother, a sister, a daughter, a partner and a friend to many,” Robert Satkiewicz said.
Earlier in the hearing, prosecutors played a recorded phone call Peters made to his wife just after the guilty verdict was returned. In it, Peters claims the jury was rigged.
“They picked them from the building,” he said.
He tells his wife officers staged the crime scene, believing they pulled the door off its hinges and fired shots through it with his gun.
“Everything’s rigged. I’m toast, honey. … They’re going to drop the hammer on me,” Peters said.
“That judge is totally against me. They’re all in on it.”
Judge Sharon Prather called the phone call “completely outrageous.”
“Since the first time you stepped into the courtroom, you continue to refuse to accept any responsibility for your actions,” Prather said. “… You blame everyone except yourself.”
“The blame lays right at your feet,” the judge said.
It was a different Peters in court Thursday, a person less irreverent than he’s appeared at earlier court dates. He apologized to the victims and to his family.
“There were families on both sides of the door that night,” he said.
Peters’ attorney Mourelatos had asked for the minimum 110 years prison sentence.