Crime & Courts

Attorney: Former Chicago cop, accused killer has 'progressive dementia'

Lorin Volberding, 73, of the 10800 block of Riviera Drive, Spring Grove
Lorin Volberding, 73, of the 10800 block of Riviera Drive, Spring Grove

A judge on Friday struck the trial date for a former Chicago police officer accused of shooting and killing his wife in their Spring Grove home.

Lorin Volberding’s defense attorney, Henry Sugden, asked to have his client re-evaluated by an expert psychologist to determine whether the 73-year-old is fit to stand trial.

Police arrested Volberding on Feb. 3, 2017, after they found his wife, Elizabeth Volberding, who was a fellow retired officer, shot dead in the couple’s Spring Grove home.

In April 2017, Robert Meyer, a clinical psychologist, found that Lorin Volberding was psychologically fit and could continue with all court proceedings. On Friday, however, Sugden claimed Lorin Volberding suffers from “progressive dementia” and said his condition has worsened.

“At this point, he might not be [fit],” Sugden said in court Friday morning.

Over the state’s objection, McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather struck the previously set April 29 trial and instead scheduled the case for a status hearing that day.

In a 2015 petition seeking an order of protection against Lorin Volberding, Elizabeth Volberding noted her husband was diagnosed with “acute dementia” in December 2014.

She also wrote that Lorin Volberding came into her bedroom and threatened to kill her before going to the basement, where the couple stored their guns. Officers at the time had Lorin Volberding involuntarily admitted to the hospital for a mental health evaluation, according to the petition.

Sugden and McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs were supposed to have a hearing Friday on several pending pretrial motions regarding evidence that prosecutors hoped to submit during trial.

That evidence includes recorded statements the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office said Lorin Volberding made to neighbors and police after his wife’s death.

Spring Grove police were called
Feb. 3, 2017, to the Volberdings’ home in the 10800 block of Riviera Drive for a well-being check. The 911 call stemmed from voicemail messages that neighbors received from Lorin Volberding, in which he confessed to shooting his wife, according to a motion prosecutors filed Jan. 4.

Lorin Volberding allegedly made statements to police about the shooting, the motion stated.

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