Keller Murder Suspect Held on $5 Million Bond

Billy Curl could face death penalty if convicted

By Anthony Ponce and Kimberly Podgorski
|  Friday, Mar 4, 2011  |  Updated 3:24 PM CDT
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A Dekalb man is charged with murder in the death of <a title=Toni Keller." />

A Dekalb man is charged with murder in the death of Toni Keller.

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The man charged with killing an Northern Illinois University student will have to come up with big bucks in order to get out of jail.

William “Billy” Curl, 34, of DeKalb, appeared in court Saturday morning after he was extradited back to Illinois on Friday.

He's charged with first-degree murder, criminal sexual assault and arson in the death of 18-year-old Antinette "Toni" Keller.

Family members told NBC5 that they were relieved Curl is in custody because they were concerned about the safety of others.

"From here, the comfort sort of stops because ... we get to see the person, we see the identity of the person, we start getting details of what went on. said Mary Tarling, Keller's cousin, You try not to let your mind start doing film strips on it's own."

The judge read the charges to Curl and explained that if convicted, he could face the death penalty.

The 18-year-old Plainfield freshman was last seen Oct. 14 when she left her residence hall to work on some art in a wooded area near campus.

That's when Dekalb police believe Curl, who was a frequent visitor to the park, attacked Keller, calling it a "crime of opportunity."

Investigators said Curl fled to Mexico, and crossed the border back into the U.S., ending up in Covington, Louisiana where he was arrested at a hotel this week.

Tarling says that NIU is planning an exhibition of Keller's art work.

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