Joliet murder victim’s friends keep his memory alive
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org November 7, 2012 2:00PM
Michael T. Eberle
Updated: January 10, 2013 1:46AM
Two women sat in the front row of the Will County courtroom, one of them holding up photos of their dead friend so the man charged with his murder would see them.
Michael T. Eberle, 42, is accused of beating Patrick Shaughnessy to death in March after he broke into a Joliet burial vault company’s building.
Eberle’s public defender said Wednesday he would like the court to appoint a neuro-forensic psychologist to evaluate whether Eberle is mentally fit to stand trial.
Standing in the hall outside the courtroom, tears rolled down Suzanne Knauer’s cheeks as she spoke about Shaughnessy, the 69-year-old man who was like a second grandfather to her grandchildren.
“I want (Eberle) to know someone is standing up for the person’s life he took, and he’s not going to forget it,” she said.
“My kids were his kids,” Knauer said.
“And he was ours,” added her daughter, Chrissy Fisk of Joliet.
Eberle was arrested for Shaughnessy’s slaying in March.
The morning of March 25, Shorewood police said a homeowner confronted Eberle allegedly trying to break into his house.
Eberle then ran to a house in unincorporated Troy Township where he stole a black pickup by driving it through the garage door, police said. The truck was found abandoned a short time later on the northwest frontage road of Interstate 55 near Black Road.
About an hour later, an employee of Knauer’s Industries, 19515 Northeast Frontage Road, arrived for work and scuffled with a man who was coming out of the business.
The employee called police. Officers discovered Shaughnessy’s body inside the business. Police believe Shaughnessy, who worked for Knauer at the vault company, interrupted Eberle as he burglarized the business and that Eberle beat him to death.
A court-appointed clinical psychologist was not able to determine whether Eberle understands what is going on with his case, his lawyer said.
Eberle also has a history of abusing synthetic stimulants known as “bath salts,” which can cause brain damage as well as hallucinations and psychosis, his lawyer said.
Will County Judge Richard C. Schoenstedt agreed to give Eberle’s attorney until Dec. 13 to find a neuro-forensic psychologist who could be appointed to evaluate Eberle.
This will be the first holiday season the Knauer family will celebrate without Shaughnessy, who Knauer said was an “adopted member of our family.”
Knauer said she will not miss any of Eberle’s court dates. Each time, she sits in the front row of the gallery, holds up photos of Shaughnessy and takes notes in a cloth-covered book.
“I try to show a different picture every time,” she said. “No person deserves to die like that.”