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Crime & Courts

Evidence from prior conviction to be allowed in murder trial

SYCAMORE – Witness testimony about Michael G. Kulpin beating his girlfriend Moorea Des Roches will be admissible when Kulpin is tried for her murder, a DeKalb County judge has ruled.

Kulpin, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated domestic battery and concealment of a homicide. Prosecutors allege he beat and repeatedly stabbed Des Roches, 19, on June 4, 2016, inside the apartment they shared in the 900 block of Kimberly Drive.

Kulpin was convicted of domestic battery in Kane County for repeatedly punching Des Roches in the back seat of a woman’s car in March of 2015. In an interview with police, the driver said Kulpin hit Des Roches with “at least 25 punches.”

He pleaded guilty in July 2015, and Kane County Judge John Noverini sentenced Kulpin to 12 months of nonreporting probation, records show.

First Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein filed a motion May 24 for the evidence in the 2015 case to be admitted during a potential trial, and the motion was granted Tuesday by Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert, records show.

The same day, Public Defender Tom McCulloch filed a motion to dismiss the case, since his client demanded a speedy trial June 8, 2016, court records show.

After such a demand, defendants in custody are entitled to a trial within 120 days of their filing. On Oct. 3, Stuckert is expected to rule on whether that clock kept running each time the defense requested or accepted a continuance of the case.

Kulpin was arrested June 5, 2016, and has been jailed since on $2 million bond. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in June 2016.

Police have said Kulpin beat and repeatedly stabbed Des Roches inside their apartment during an argument, and then hid her body in a bedroom closet and covered her with blankets and pillows. Police say in court records that after Des Roches' mother called them June 5, concerned she hadn't been to work in a couple of days, they went to Moorea's apartment, where they found Kulpin with two other people.

They found Moorea's body in a bedroom closet at about 10:30 that night, the records show.

In January, Kulpin filed for a reduction in his bond so he could help raise the child he had with Des Roches, court records show.

Kulpin wrote that he “feels he can be a positive influence in his son’s life if released on bond given he is the sole surviving parent.”

The motion was denied.

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