Shorewood-area murder case: homeless man is fit for trial
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org September 9, 2013 3:54PM
Michael T. Eberle
Updated: October 11, 2013 6:20AM
A homeless man accused of beating another man to death inside a Shorewood-area warehouse is mentally capable of standing trial for the crime, a Will County judge decided Monday.
Michael T. Eberle, 43, was arraigned on six charges Monday — three counts of murder, two counts of burglary and one count of possession of a stolen vehicle — after Judge Robert Livas determined he was mentally fit.
Eberle is accused of beating to death Patrick Shaughnessy, 69, in March 2012.
Eberle’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Stewart Ferreira, argued Monday that he believed there was some doubt that Eberle was mentally fit due to a history of psychological issues.
Eberle also has a history of abusing synthetic stimulants known as “bath salts,” which can cause brain damage as well as hallucinations and psychosis, Ferreira said.
A court-appointed clinical psychiatrist who evaluated Eberle said, while she believed he was exaggerating or faking mental deficits, she could not determine whether he was mentally fit, Livas said.
“I have not been convinced ... that such a bona fide doubt (about Eberle’s mental fitness) exists,” Livas said.
The issue of Eberle’s mental health has been pending since shortly after he was charged with the crimes in April 2012.
The morning of March 25, 2012, 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 at the burial vault company, interrupted Eberle as he burglarized the business and that Eberle beat him to death.
Police found a bloody fire extinguisher and crowbar near Shaughnessy’s body, prosecutors said. Eberle was found by police in some nearby weeds and brush and taken into custody. Authorities said he was “uncooperative” during questioning.
Eberle, who is being held in the Will County jail in lieu of $5 million bond, is scheduled to appear in court again Oct. 7.