Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

July 3, 2014

Plea may be near in Burr case

EFFINGHAM — The rural Dieterich woman accused of stabbing a man to death nearly three years ago may be close to accepting a negotiated plea in the case.

Christine Burr, 57, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the July 2011 death of Joseph Delaney at an Effingham apartment. Jury selection had been set to begin in the case Monday, but Thursday, Public Defender Scott Schmidt told Judge Kimberly Koester that the sides had reached a plea agreement "in principle."

Instead, however, of accepting the deal Thursday, Koester set Burr's next court appearance for 9 a.m. Monday. Schmidt asked for the delay to accommodate the victim's relatives, who were unable to be in court Thursday.

While authorities believe Delaney was killed sometime in July 2011, his remains were not found until early 2012, when a hiker came across the remains in Embarass River bottomland near Newton. The remains were not, however, identified until late last year.

Burr's daughter, Kristy Mathis, and Mathis' boyfriend, Zebadiah Houser, have already pleaded guilty to helping Burr dispose of the body.

Bill Grimes may be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com, or via Twitter @EDNBGrimes.

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