Suspect in NIU Murder Accepts Plea Deal; Sentenced to 37 Years

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) -- DeKalb County prosecutors say a man charged in the 2010 slaying of a Northern Illinois University student whose burned remains were found in a park will enter a plea in exchange for a 37-year prison sentence.

   Tuesday's plea agreement comes days before 36-year-old William Curl of DeKalb was scheduled to stand trial in the death of 18-year-old Antinette "Toni" Keller.

   Curl maintains his innocence. But Moria Curl says her brother entered an Alford plea, which acknowledges prosecutors could likely prove the first-degree murder charge filed against him.

   DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack said in a statement Tuesday that Curl must serve the entire 37-year sentence as part of the plea agreement.

   Keller family spokesman Mary Tarling says the concept of a plea agreement was sprung on the victim's family.

SYCAMORE (WIFR) -- The man accused of killing a Northern Illinois University student nearly two-and-a-half years ago, plead guilty today and has been sentenced to 37 years in prison.

36-year-old William Curl of DeKalb killed NIU freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller back in October of 2010.

Curl must serve his full 37 year-sentence, and will not be able to get out of prison early for good behavior. Family and friends of Keller say the deal is not justice.

“I can’t believe he’s a person. That he’s real. That he did that,” said Laura Devine a former NIU art student.

“Toni’s never coming back, she’s never coming back. And for people who live here, this is forever changed us,” said Thelma Holdeniss, a Keller family friend.

Prosecutors say Curl's plea deal is one of the stiffest ever agreed upon.

The release from the DeKalb County State's Attorney has been attached.

SYCAMORE (WIFR) – It looks like the DeKalb man accused of killing an NIU freshman will accept a plea deal instead of going to trial.

The DeKalb County State's Attorney says 36-year-old William Curl will plead guilty. In exchange, he'll be sentenced to 37 years in prison. We're told he will spend that entire sentence and won't be able to get out early for good behavior.

Curl is accused of slaying 18-year-old Toni Keller and burning her body. He could have gotten anywhere between 20 and 60 years.

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