Today could mark the beginning of the end for a 25-year-old murder investigation.
Timothy W. Krajcir will face a judge today in a preliminary hearing for his alleged involvement with the 1982 murder of Deborah Shepard.
Krajcir, 62, is being charged with four counts of murder, one of which is a felony charge. Shepard was a senior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale when she was murdered, Lt. Paul Echols said.
Recently discovered evidence linked Krajcir to Shepard’s case. Echols, the lead investigator from the Carbondale Police, was unable to comment on the specifics of the evidence.
A warrant was issued for Krajcir’s arrest Aug. 29, Echols said. Krajcir was already in prison for related charges – he was deemed a sexually dangerous person by the court in 1979.
The new evidence will be presented to the judge in Krajcir’s preliminary hearing, Echols said. The purpose of the hearing is to inform the judge and the court of the evidence that has been brought up against Krajcir.
“Now the defendant, Krajcir, has the choice to go though that (preliminary hearing) so he and his attorney can hear the facts of the case or he can wave it,” Echols said.
Waving of the preliminary hearing would mean Krajcir accepts the facts that exist, Echols said. If waved, the case may either go to trial or be settled with a plea agreement.
“It just depends on whether we actually go through with the preliminary hearing. If we go through the preliminary hearing I will take the stand and I’ll testify what lead us to Krajcir and what evidence there is,” Echols said.
If Krajcir chooses to wave his preliminary hearing then the evidence against him will remain confidential until the case is resolved.
If convicted of murder Krajcir could face 40 years in prison with a 20 year minimum sentence, said States Attorney Michael L. Wepsiec.
“He’s also charged with felony murder, if convicted of that he could face potentially natural life,” Wepseic said.
Daily Egyptian writer Katie Kienast can be reached at 536-3311 ext 262 or [email protected]