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Crime & Courts

Ohio man pleads not guilty to brutal slaying of Sycamore mother, son

Jonathan Hurst arraigned in DeKalb County court Friday

Jonathan Hurst, who faces first-degree murder charges for the 2016 murders of Sycamore residents Robert Wilson and Patricia Wilson, talks to his lawyer DeKalb County Public Defender Tom McCulloch after pleading not guilty to the charges during his arraignment Friday at the DeKalb County Courthouse.
Jonathan Hurst, who faces first-degree murder charges for the 2016 murders of Sycamore residents Robert Wilson and Patricia Wilson, talks to his lawyer DeKalb County Public Defender Tom McCulloch after pleading not guilty to the charges during his arraignment Friday at the DeKalb County Courthouse.

SYCAMORE Jonathan Hurst, charged with brutally slaying Robert and Patricia Wilson in 2016, gave a smile and nod to his family, who watched from the gallery in the courtroom as Hurst plead not guilty to 12 counts of first-degree murder.

"I love you, John," said a young woman as Hurst, in an orange jumpsuit and ankle and wrist cuffs wearing glasses, was escorted by DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies out of the room afterward.

It took Circuit Court Judge Philip Montgomery almost ten minutes to read the 16 charges Hurst faces as he was indicted at DeKalb County Courthouse Friday morning. Hurst was also charged Friday with home invasion, residential burglary, criminal trespass to residence and unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. Hurst looked downwards as Montgomery read his charges but did not react otherwise.

Montgomery said the additional charges are because prosecutors believe Hurst forcibly entered the Wilson's home knowing they were inside, and with the intent to harm them. Hurst was represented by Public Defender Tom McCulloch.

Investigators have thus far been unable to unveil a motive in the murders, and Hurst has no known connections to DeKalb County or the Wilson family.

DeKalb County Sheriff’s detectives on Feb. 24 traveled to Cincinnati, where they arrested Jonathan D. Hurst, 51, formerly of Chicago, at his home. Hurst is charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 14, 2016, killings of Patricia Wilson, 85, and Robert Wilson, 65, who were found Aug. 15, 2016, at their home, 16058 Old State Road in rural Sycamore.They died from repeated blows to the head and, in Robert's case, stab wounds to his chest, neck and stomach.

Montgomery described the action Hurst is charged with in the double homicide as "exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of want and cruelty."

Due to the severity in which Hurst is charged with killing the elderly mother and her son, Hurst faces between 20 to 100 years in prison, natural life without the opportunity of parole.

In the years since, investigators followed more than 1,300 leads and traveled as far as Washington state in search of suspects, all while attempting to identify the DNA found at the crime scene.

DeKalb County State's Attorney Rick Amato asked Montgomery Friday for a motion to collect a buccal swab, meaning DNA evidence from a cheek swab, and fingerprints from Hurst.

Montgomery declined to rule on Amato's motion Friday, and said the case will return to the hands of Circuit Court Robbin Stuckert, who is set to rule on the DNA collection request Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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