Man arrested in Illinois pastor murder case

A man with a history of mental illness has been charged with murder and battery for the alleged killing of the pastor of an Illinois church, who was shot dead on Sunday before his shocked parishioners.


AFP - A man with a history of mental illness was charged with murder and battery Monday in the slaying of an Illinois pastor and the stabbing of two parishioners who tackled him to the floor during Sunday morning services.

Terry Sedlacek, 27, was the subject of a 2008 profile in the St. Louis Post Dispatch about how Lyme disease had attacked his brain.

His mother told the paper at the time that Sedlacek became ill when he was in high school after being bitten by an infected tick.

Ruth Abernathy said the disease nearly killed her son in 2003 and caused lesions on his brain, but said he improved with treatment and a host of drugs.

Neighbors told the paper that Sedlacek appears to be mentally ill, and would sometimes stand in the street and shout obscenities for no apparent reason.

Police said they are not sure why Sedlacek walked into First Baptist Church on Sunday morning and shot head pastor Fred Winters, whose bible deflected one bullet and exploded in what shocked parishioners described as "confetti."

Sedlacek pulled out a knife and began stabbing himself when his gun jammed after the fourth shot. Two parishioners were wounded while restraining him until police arrived.

Sedlacek was not a member of the church, although he lived nearby and reportedly knew several parishioners.

Police discovered a day planner where Sedlacek listed Sunday as "death day," said Madison County State's Attorney William Mudge.

"This horrifying act has affected so many people's lives in ways that are unimaginable," Mudge said.

"My sympathies go out to not only the family of our victims, but also to the entire congregation of First Baptist Church."

Sedlacek was charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery, court documents showed.


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