People on both sides wept in a tense courtroom Friday as a 53-year-old Cary man was sentenced to prison for attacking a man with a nail gun last year.
Edward Zegers pleaded guilty Friday to home invasion and domestic battery in connection with a 2017 attack. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, followed by three years of parole.
McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather briefly halted the sentencing to ask a woman who’d come in support of Zegers to leave the courtroom. The woman had been “laughing” and making comments during the victim’s impact statement, Prather said.
Zegers had never met the victim before he broke down the door of the man’s girlfriend’s home in 2017 and tried to shoot him with a nail gun, the man said.
“They only take one round to kill someone,” the victim said in court.
Police were called to a domestic disturbance about 1:40 a.m. July 2, 2017, in the 7300 block of Swan Way, Cary. They found a man outside the home bleeding from the head and face.
Authorities went inside the home and found Zegers lying on the floor next to the bed, according to court documents. A nail gun, typically used for construction, was found under the bed close to Zegers.
The woman who owned the home, who knew Zegers, was inside at the time of the incident. Zegers had broken down the bolted front door, and confronted the woman and her boyfriend, she said.
The man fought and struggled, and eventually got Zegers to the ground. During the altercation, Zegers said, “You’re dead,” and “I’m going to kill you,” prosecutor Sharyl Eisenstein said.
Zegers previously told police he hit the man over the head with the nail gun, but denied ever saying, “I’m going to kill you.”
His only plan that night was to kill himself in front of the woman, as shown by a 10-page suicide note family members found in Zegers’ room after he was arrested, Zegers’ daughters said.
“My dad was unconscious, so he really couldn’t tell his side of the story when police arrived,” Diane Zegers said of Edward Zegers.
To defend himself and the woman, the man began hitting Zegers in the face until he was unconscious so that the two could get away.
Family members knew Zegers was depressed and had hosted an “intervention” for him weeks before the assault, Diane Zegers said.