A man has been found guilty of stabbing to death his 85-year-old grandmother – allegedly to inherit a £325,000 fortune.
Rich A. Schmelzer murdered Mildred Darrington by knifing her in the neck as she slept at her home in East Dundee, Illinois.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old had accumulated significant debts after becoming entangled in a “lavish lifestyle”, including the use of prostitutes.
Unable to pay his bills, the father-of-four drove almost 1,000 miles from Texas to Illinois to stab Darrington to death in July 2014.
Schmelzer had asked family members for loans but to no avail, and as the co-executor of Darrington’s estate, began to transfer money from her credit cards.
Schmelzer stood to inherit half of Darrington’s £650,000 estate, and began plotting her murder in mid-2014, prosecutors said.
He used a fake restaurant receipt and an email from a friend, seemingly implying Schmelzer was elsewhere at the time of the murder, to provide him an alibi.
But Schmelzer was arrested and charged with murder.
“His deceit is astonishing, and it was done because he was so overcome with greed,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said.
“Quite frankly, it’s still hard to fathom – this man killed his own grandmother to further a lifestyle of gluttony that he couldn’t otherwise pay for.
“He had 14 hours and 900 miles to rethink his plan, but he carried it out, anyway — a calculated, cold-blooded murder.”
Schmelzer will be sentenced on January 25.