Mother of accused wife killer: Couple had marital problems
Updated: May 6, 2013 2:11AM
The mother of a Vernon Hills man charged with killing his wife testified the couple was having marital problems.
Anita Stolberg, 81, testified about visiting her son’s Vernon Hills residence June 8, 2011, after she learned his wife had died.
Ronald Stolberg, 49, was charged with first-degree murder for allegedly asphyxiating his wife, Rachel, 54, for disturbing his sleep the evening of June 7, 2011, according to prosecutors Scott Hoffert and James Newman.
Stolberg was before Lake County Circuit Court Judge Mark Levitt on Wednesday for a continued hearing. Stolberg’s attorneys Bill Hedrick and Kevin Rosner are seeking to quash his arrest and suppress statements he made to police from his upcoming trial.
Anita Stolberg said she told police that there were problems between her son and her daughter-in-law. Rachel had been involuntarily committed at a mental institution for about 24 hours. She wasn’t sleeping and had stopped speaking, according to testimony from the hearing.
Anita told Highland Park Detective Sean Gallagher about an incident that occurred a few days before Rachel died. Stolberg was trying to take his wife to the doctor when she ran away, according to testimony.
Anita and Stolberg’s older brother had planned to meet with Stolberg on June 8 to discuss how he could get professional help for his wife, according to testimony.
Instead of the family meeting, Anita went to her son’s residence after she learned Rachel had died, she testified.
“I was in a state of shock,” Anita said.
She said she spoke to her son briefly and explained why she congratulated him when she saw him.
“He tried everything to get help for Rachel and he did. He really tried everything. That’s why I said, ‘Congratulations’,” Anita testified.
She briefly paused during her testimony to compose herself. She said she went to the Vernon Hills Police Department immediately after she left Stolberg’s home. She spoke with detectives and then went back to her son’s house.
“(I went) to see if the coroner was there. They said, ‘Yes’. I said, ‘Good. You’ll get the autopsy and you’ll release him. You’ll know he didn’t do it,” Anita said.
She said she called police repeatedly that night trying to reach her son. Unknown to her, Stolberg was being interviewed by detectives at the Mundelein Police Department.
At first, Stolberg refused to speak with detectives without a lawyer present. He later told Lake Villa Detective Rochelle Tisinai that he would speak if he could call his mother first, Tisinai testified Wednesday. Stolberg was not allowed to call his mother after he spoke to police, Tisinai said.
She testified that she had a three-hour conversation with Stolberg. He talked about having an argument with Rachel, Tisinai said.
Attorneys will argue the motion March 15. Both sides finished presenting their evidence Wednesday.
Stolberg is being held at Lake County Jail without bail.