Husband allegedly killed wife to get good night's sleep

Husband allegedly killed wife to get good night's sleep

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VERNON HILLS, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

North suburban Vernon Hills man Ronald Stolberg's attempt at a good night's sleep was thwarted when his wife poked him awake four times throughout the night of June 7, 2011.

He yelled at her and had to "grab her by the wrists" and "walk her out of the room" more than once. It wasn't until after he took her "down to the ground" before he was able to resume sleeping through the night while she slept on the floor.

That is what Stolberg told Vernon Hills Police about his interactions with his wife, Rachel Stolberg, 54, the night she died, according to testimony presented in Lake County Circuit Court Thursday.

Stolberg, 49, has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly asphyxiating his wife. His attorneys Bill Hendrick and Kevin Rosner are seeking to quash his arrest. Vernon Hills Officer Art Fink was among police to testify Thursday about responding to Stolberg's 9-1-1 call June 8, 2011.

Fink was one of the first officers on scene June 8 responding to a dead-on-arrival call, he testified. Stolberg told Fink about his wife of four years poking him multiple times disturbing his sleep, Fink testified.

"He kept telling me he needed sleep and that he couldn't work without sleep," Fink said.

Stolberg told Fink that his wife often slept on the couch or floor while he slept alone in the master bedroom, Fink testified. On the evening of June 7, Stolberg described being poked repeatedly by his wife, ending with him grabbing her by the wrists and taking her down to the ground, Fink said.

Stolberg told Fink he thought Rachel was asleep, so he left her on the floor and went back to bed. Stolberg told Fink he thought she was faking being asleep on the floor when he left for work the next morning, so he stepped over her and went to work, Fink testified. Stolberg saw she wasn't moving when he got home, rolled her over and saw she was blue and dialed 9-1-1.

"This seemed a little bit more serious than someone just laying there," Fink said.

Stolberg also spoke to Fink about his troubled wife of four years, Fink testified. She refused to speak with Stolberg for months, communicating only with notes, Fink said.

Stolberg also said she had anxiety, depression and anger issues, Vernon Hills Officer Deanna Manke testified. She said she had asked Stolberg if Rachel had ever made statements about harming herself, which Stolberg said no, Manke testified.

Manke said Stolberg requested to go to Vernon Hills Police Department. Stolberg was formally charged with her murder after the autopsy in June 2011. Police said there had been a domestic struggle between husband and wife during which Rachel died.

The hearing is expected to continue at a later date.

Stolberg is being held without bond at Lake County Jail.

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