Palatine man headed back to court on murder, arson charges

Attorney asks for continuance to sort through 2,500 pages of discovery

Gary C. Freeman

OREGON – A Palatine man is scheduled to appear in Ogle County court again Oct. 25 on charges that he fatally stabbed a Rochelle woman and set her apartment on fire in an attempt to conceal her death in September 2022.

Gary C. Freeman, 28, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder, one count of residential arson and one count of concealment of a homicide.

He is charged in connection with the death of Devin K. Gibbons, 28, of Rochelle.

Freeman, who is being held in the Ogle County Correctional Center on $10 million bond, appeared in Ogle County Court on Wednesday, Sept. 13, represented by defense attorney Robert Kerr, who appeared remotely through a video conference.

Kerr said he had received most of the requested discovery documents provided by prosecutors, but needed more time to review the state’s evidence, which included “over 2,500 pages.”

Ogle County Assistant State’s Attorney Allison Huntley did not object to the continuance.

Judge John Redington set Freeman’s next hearing for 1 p.m. Oct. 25.

Gibbons was found dead in her Rochelle apartment, 503 Seventh Ave., after Rochelle police and firefighters were dispatched to that address at 10:46 a.m. Sept. 18, 2022, for a smoke investigation, according to a joint news release from the Rochelle Police Department and Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock.

“Upon entry into the residence, fire personnel located a deceased female,” according to the release. “The fire was deemed suspicious and additional investigators arrived on scene.”

Freeman was developed as a suspect during the course of the investigation, according to the release.

Rock submitted the case Feb. 28 to an Ogle County grand jury, which indicted Freeman. An arrest warrant was issued Feb. 28, and he was apprehended in Palatine.

The first-degree murder charges, Class M felonies, allege Freeman “knowingly stabbed” Gibbons “with the intent to kill her or do great bodily harm” and that the “murder was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner, pursuant to a preconceived plan, scheme or design.”

The concealment of a homicidal death indictment, a Class 3 felony, alleged Freeman knew Gibbons “had died by homicidal means” and “knowingly concealed” her death by leaving her body inside her apartment and then starting the fire. The residential arson charge is a Class 1 felony.

Rock said many agencies worked on the investigation, including the Rochelle Police Department, Ogle County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Red Cross, Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigators, Ogle County Coroner’s Office, Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District, Federal Bureau of Investigation (Rockford and Chicago offices), Schaumburg Police Department, Palatine Police Department, Sterling Police Department and the Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 8 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.