SYCAMORE – Nearly three years after his arrest, the family of Patricia and Robert Wilson want the man accused of beating and stabbing them to death in 2016 in their Sycamore home to finally stand trial, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Jonathan Hurst, now 52, faces first-degree murder charges for their deaths on Aug. 14, 2016. The mother, 85, and son, 64, were found brutally stabbed and beaten to death inside their country home on Old State Road.
Hurst also is charged with home invasion, residential burglary, criminal trespass to land and possession of a stolen vehicle.
If convicted, Hurst faces life in prison. He pleaded not guilty in March 2020.
Assistant State’s Attorney Suzanne Collins told Circuit Court Judge Marcy Buick Wednesday that the Wilson family wants to see Hurst go to trial.
“The family members are anxious to get this case moving,” Collins said as Hurst appeared virtually from the DeKalb County Jail, where he’s been held without bond since his arrest Feb. 24, 2020.
“As soon as we can set it for trial that would be great,” Collins said.
Hurst, sporting a long beard, lengthy ponytail and black eye glasses, appeared calm during the hearing and greeted the judge verbally as it began.
Prosecutors and police have yet to say what may have allegedly led Hurst to the Wilson home that mid-August night. Investigators thus far have not unveiled a motive or murder weapon.
Hurst has no known ties to the Sycamore area or the Wilson family, but deputies have said an abundance of DNA collected in the Wilsons’ home matches Hurst to the crime. Cellphone records put him in the area the day before, and Patricia’s car was found parked less than a mile from Hurst’s former home in Chicago.
After a 3 1/2-year investigation chasing more than 1,300 leads and an in-depth forensic search, DeKalb County sheriff’s deputies arrested Hurst, formerly of Chicago, at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2020.
At the time of his arrest, police said Hurst denied ever being in Sycamore, although DNA evidence places him there, authorities said.
Police said DNA samples collected from a variety of sources inside the Wilson home matched Hurst’s DNA, reconstructed through an extensive process with Virginia-based Parabon Labs. It’s the same forensic DNA tool used to catch the suspect in the Golden State Killer case in California.
Hurst is represented by the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office. His attorney changed midyear however, and he’s now represented by public defender Chip Criswell, court documents show.
Criswell told Buick Wednesday that he’s found a DNA information expert who has agreed to provide a report on thousands of pages of discovery evidence brought forward ahead of the trial, which has not been set.
“There’s 10,000 pages of discovery,” Criswell said, adding it will take some time to review. “I’m making sure I haven’t missed any.”
Criswell also said Hurst has requested access to the documents, too, though they will need to be redacted before they’re provided to him.
“That’s a long process,” Criswell said. “It’ll probably be piecemeal, but it’s not going to delay anything in this case.”
Police have a general idea about the time of the crime because Patricia Wilson’s white Chevrolet Impala sedan was captured by a camera at 12:44 a.m. on Aug. 15 traveling east on Route 64 at Route 59. About 6 p.m. that day, a family member concerned about not hearing from the Wilsons for almost 24 hours went to check on them and discovered the crime scene.
Hurst is next ordered to appear for another status hearing at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 4.