By Clifford Ward
Special to the Tribune
6:55 PM PST, January 20, 2012
In a long statement today to the judge who could send him to prison for life, Robert Lyons admitted stabbing his mother to death in 2008 and said he snapped after 27 years of verbal abuse from her.
The remarks came during a 45-minute statement the Carol Stream man made before DuPage County Judge Kathryn Creswell, who said she will announce her sentence Monday.
A jury convicted Lyons, 39, in September of the first-degree murder of Linda Bolek, 61, whose body was found March 14, 2008, in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor of the condo she shared with her boyfriend and her son.
“I’m sorry for being responsible for my mother’s death,” Lyons said. “I did love my mother, but I also hated her at times.”
Lyons said he and his mother had a volatile relationship and that she heaped verbal abuse on him from a young age. Lyons said he snapped on the day he killed her.
He also spent lengthy segments of his statement denying that he planned to kill Bolek, and was critical of reports that he killed his mother after she refused to help arrange to get him concerts tickets to see singer Avril Lavigne.
He and Bolek did argue over the tickets earlier that day, he said, but it did not play a role in the murder.
While they were out running errands, his mother had been harshly criticizing him for stopping to buy flowers, which he liked to pass out to hostesses at a restaurant he frequented, Lyons said.
Later, at their residence, Lyons said they were in the kitchen when he saw his mother pick up a knife.
“I attacked her immediately,” he said. “I completely lost control.”
Afterward, he poured some household chemicals on her body, including insecticide, before leaving the house. He was arrested later that day.
Earlier witnesses at the hearing talked about Lyons’ history of mental illness, and Lyons said he had not taken his medicine to treat his bi-polar condition in the three days before the attack.
But DuPage County Assistant State’s Atty. Ann Celine O’Hallaren said Lyons’ mental illness should not be an excuse. She asked the judge to sentence him to 65 years in prison.
“Whether mentally ill or not, his actions were callous,” she said.
Assistant Public Defender Valerie Pacis asked for a shorter term.
“He wasn’t born an evil person,” she said. “He’s just a sick man.”
The jury that convicted Lyons made a finding that his acts were indicative of wanton cruelty. That extends the normal sentencing range of 20 to 60 years for murder.
The judge could sentence him to natural life in prison.
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