Man accused of killing grandmother seeks public defender
By Brian Stanley and Tony Graf Staff Writers December 6, 2012 2:08PM
House where Veronica Schick was killed in Joliet, Illinois, Thursday, December 6, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media
Updated: January 8, 2013 6:23AM
JOLIET TOWNSHIP — Veronica Schick was a mechanic in World War II with the Women’s Army Corps, serving with a motor pool in the Pacific Theater, her daughter said.
On Thursday, Susan Spillman remembered the life of her 90-year-old mother, a life that ended in tragedy last week.
Darel C. Agerton, 38, of Joliet, is accused of killing Schick, his grandmother, on Nov. 30. On Thursday afternoon, Agerton requested a public defender when he appeared in Will County court in Joliet.
Schick, 90, was strong — a person who kept to herself, said Bill Martin, who lives near Schick’s longtime home in the Ingalls Park neighborhood.
“I plowed her snow every winter and made sure her sidewalks were clear. She’d plow that if you let her,” Martin said.
“She was very independent,” said Val Martin, Bill’s wife.
Bill recalls a conversation in which he learned that Schick served in World War II.
“She would rarely talk about it,” Bill said. In the 21 year Schick knew Bill and Val Martin, the veteran hardly ever mentioned her service.
Schick worked at Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont from 1978 to 1986, the laboratory said Thursday.
Schick also had a smile and kindness, along with her tough reputation. Val remembered enjoying coffee with her neighbor.
Shelly Magee remembered Schick as a neighbor who liked her cats and kept to herself. Magee would cut Schick’s lawn occasionally, but Schick had a very independent personality.
“She was a strong lady,” Magee said. “She would come out and try to shovel by herself. She would try to do as much as she could by herself.”
In a brief interview Thursday, Spillman said Veronica met her future husband, Adam Schick, while he was serving in the Army.
Schick was found Nov. 30 at the bottom of the basement steps of her home at 109 Jessie St. An autopsy performed this week showed Schick had been beaten and her death was caused by strangulation.
Police say Agerton killed her just one day after being paroled from prison.
Agerton was arrested Wednesday, and is being held in the county jail in lieu of $5 million bail.
In court on Thursday he said, “Good afternoon,” when greeted via video by Judge Marzell Richardson.
He alternated between leaning forward over the microphone and slouching back in his chair as Richardson read the six counts of first-degree murder, which each carry a sentence of between 20 and 60 years in prison.
Agerton will face a preliminary hearing Dec. 31.
The public defender requested Agerton be allowed to make three phone calls, but did not indicate who would receive those calls. Prosecutors did not object and the request was granted.
It did not appear anyone supporting Agerton or Schick was present in court.
Agerton had been paroled Nov. 29 from the Jacksonville Correctional Center after serving half a three-year sentence for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and driving on a suspended license in 2010 and 2011.