Crime & Courts

Former East Dundee cop sentenced to jail, probation for choking woman

A former East Dundee police officer was sentenced to jail and felony probation Friday for choking a woman during a 2019 domestic dispute.

Michael D. Seyller’s family, including the woman police said he choked and hit on multiple occasions, cried and shouted “I love you” Friday as the former officer was handcuffed and led to the McHenry County Jail.

Seyller, 46, entered a blind guilty plea in June to a felony charge of aggravated domestic battery. He remained free on bond until his sentencing hearing Friday, when McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt ordered Seyller to serve six months in the county jail followed by two years of probation.

At a hearing Friday, the victim in the case tried to shoulder some of the blame for the domestic dispute and asked the judge not to sentence Seyller to prison. In the past year, Seyller has addressed what the woman described as alcoholism and attained sobriety, she said.

“I have chosen to look at this as a blessing in disguise,” she said in a prepared statement Friday.

Addressing the judge Friday, Seyller said his alcoholism began after suffering injuries to his knee in May 2012 and March 2013. Before hearing his sentence read aloud in court, Seyller asked the judge to give him “one last chance.”

“I am sincere when I tell you you would never have to see me in here again,” he said.

Seyller must serve at least 50% of the jail sentence, and he’ll receive credit for any time he already has spent in custody. That means he must spend a total of 66 days in jail to satisfy that part of his sentence, prosecutors said. He’ll also be required to follow the recommendations of a psychiatric evaluation that was performed and submit to drug and alcohol testing, Wilbrandt ordered.

“This was an unfortunate incident of domestic violence fueled by alcoholism,” Wilbrandt said.

Seyller was arrested Aug. 27 after Lake in the Hills police received a report of a domestic battery in the 5500 block of Chantilly Circle. Lake in the Hills police officer David DeStefano testified Friday that the suspect, later identified as Seyller, had fled the scene before police arrived.

The victim, a woman with whom Seyller had a dating relationship, was taken to Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital to be treated for injuries, DeStefano said.

While at the scene, DeStefano learned Seyller had called the police department and informed authorities he was in Carpentersville, the officer testified. Seyller’s cellphone, however, was traced back to a house in the 300 block of Annandale Drive in Lake in the Hills, where police eventually arrested him.

“His shirt was covered in blood,” DeStefano said.

At the time of Seyller’s August 2019 arrest, he was out on bond in connection with a separate domestic battery case involving the same woman.

In that case, Seyller was accused of discharging a KelTec .38-caliber pistol at the woman, whom he also was accused of punching and preventing from calling 911, according to police and court records.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss those charges in exchange for Seyller’s June guilty plea in the most recent case.

At a sentencing hearing Friday, McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Ann Scholl asked the judge to sentence Seyller to five years in prison, citing a history of domestic abuse and violent behavior that she said dates back to his time in high school.

“His need for power and control isn’t going away when this case ends,” Scholl said.

A presentence investigation report that dove into Seyller’s background quoted a former police colleague. The man spoke highly of Seyller as a police officer but said he feared that if Seyller didn’t get the help he needs, “he will end up killing someone,” Scholl said.

Seyller’s work with the East Dundee Police Department began in 1999 and ended in December 2013, when the city’s police pension board approved Seyller’s application for disability resulting from an off-duty injury.

His arrests began to pile up after a 2013 bar fight in Adams County, Wisconsin. Police reports filed over the course of several years detailed the alleged instances of domestic violence and weapons misuse.

As a condition of his sentence, Seyller must surrender his firearm owner’s identification card, meaning he likely won’t work as a police officer “probably ever again,” Wilbrandt said.

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