Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

December 18, 2013

$1M bond set for woman charged in missing man's death

EFFINGHAM — The woman accused of killing an Effingham man missing for more than two years told police she became angry after the man admitted giving drugs that caused the overdose death of her husband.

Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler said Christine Burr, 57, now of rural Dieterich, admitted to police Monday that she threw a pot of boiling water at Joe C. Delaney before fatally stabbing him in the chest.

Kibler revealed that information during a probable cause hearing Wednesday in Judge Sherri Tungate's courtroom. It was a tip from a Chicago-area police department that led local police to three area people accused of being involved in the death and/or concealment of an Effingham man who had been missing sometime after July 1, 2011.

After Kibler's presentation, Tungate found probable cause to detain Burr, 57, on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of concealing a homicidal death. Burr's daughter, Kristy Lynn Mathis, 40, and Mathis' boyfriend Zebadiah R. Houser, 25, were ordered to be held on one count each of concealing a homicidal death.

Tungate set bond for Burr at $1 million, Bond was set for the other two defendants at $200,000 each.

The judge also appointed attorneys for each of the three suspects. Public Defender Scott Schmidt was appointed to represent Burr, while Richard Runde was appointed to represent Houser and former Public Defender Lupita Thompson was appointed to represent Mathis. Tungate set first appearances with counsel for 11 a.m. Monday.

A walker found human remains of what is believed to be Delaney, 54 at the time of his disappearance, near the Embarras River about a half-mile east of Illinois 130 the following March.

But the case went nowhere, Kibler said, until Evergreen Park police in suburban Chicago received a tip Dec. 2 about a possible homicide in Effingham County. Effingham police were alerted to the tip and began working the case in conjunction with the Illinois State Police.

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