A DuPage County jury on Thursday found a man guilty of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and burying her in a shallow grave in west suburban Glen Ellyn.
After a seven-day trial, a jury deliberated for two hours before finding Myron Ester, 50, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Linda Valez, the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.
The jury ruled that the murder was “exceptionally brutal or heinous”, meaning Ester could face a life sentence, prosecutors said.
Police found Valez’s body after spotting drops of blood and a shallow grave in Panfish Park, prosecutors said. She had been stabbed 39 times the evening of Sept. 24, 2013 when an argument between Ester and her turned violent.
On the night of her death, Ester loitered at a McDonald’s where Valez worked and harassed her, a lawsuit filed in 2015 by Valez’s mother claimed.
Restaurant employees and workers saw Ester staring at Valez “continuously and menacingly” and threatening to kill her, the lawsuit claimed.
At the end of her shift, Ester was seen “accosting her in the doorway and parking lot” and forcing Valez to accompany him to Panfish Park, the lawsuit claimed.
Valez was reported missing the following day, and was found three days later by officers searching Panfish Park, where Ester was known to frequent, prosecutors said.
“I would like to thank the jury for seeing through Mr. Ester’s ridiculous claim of self-defense,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. “Ester brought Linda to Panfish Park knowing full well he would be walking out alone.”
Ester was arrested on Sept. 29, 2013, and held without bail ever since, prosecutors said. He was due for a sentencing hearing on Feb. 20.