Kansas man convicted of using GPS to stalk, batter woman in Elgin
From Staff Reports October 31, 2012 5:22PM
Updated: December 2, 2012 2:12PM
ST. CHARLES TWP. — A Kansas man who used a GPS device to track an ex-girlfriend to Elgin, and then stalked and choked her when she refused to return with him to Kansas, was convicted this week of multiple felonies.
A Kane County circuit court jury late Tuesday returned guilty verdicts against Blake C. Durbin, 45, of Maize, Kan., on felony charges of aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery in a public place and stalking, and misdemeanor domestic battery.
The jurors deliberated about two hours before reaching their verdict.
“This case is an example of a domestic abuser who sees his partner as a possession and not a person. My thanks to the jury for seeing the facts as they are. This guilty verdict marks a fitting end to Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement issued Wednesday.
According to testimony at the trial, the victim left her home in Wichita, Kan., in June to escape from Durbin, with whom she’d had an intimate relationship until he began to physically and psychologically abuse her. She traveled to Elgin to stay with a friend who had promised to help her.
Durbin previously had given the victim a cellular telephone, and without her knowledge had turned on the phone’s Global Positioning System function. Durbin used the GPS to track her location. When he arrived in Elgin, Durbin tried unsuccessfully for days to meet with the victim. Durbin stopped at the Community Crisis Center domestic violence shelter and told workers there he was searching for the victim. Durbin also left several telephone messages at the home where the victim was staying.
On July 9, Durbin drove to the home on the southeast side of Elgin where the victim was staying. Because children were inside, the victim went outside to talk with Durbin and eventually agreed to get in a car and talk with him. Durbin became angry with the victim during the conversation, and when the woman tried to leave the car, he choked her and threatened to stab her, according to trial testimony.
The victim’s friend saw him choking her and rushed outside to help her. Both women then ran back into the home and Durbin left.
Durbin continued to call the victim, and on the morning of July 10 he drove past the home several times before he got out of the car and began to shout at the occupants. The victim then called the police. Durbin fled before officers arrived, but continued to place phone calls to the woman. Police eventually found Durbin at a nearby park and took him into custody. Durbin admitted to police that he had used GPS to track the victim, authorities said.
Associate Judge Allen M. Anderson set Durbin’s sentencing for Dec. 19. He faces a sentence of between three and 14 years in prison.
Durbin had been held since his arrest in the Kane County jail on $1 million bail. Bond was revoked upon conviction.
“Special thanks to Kathleen McCadam, a domestic violence victim advocate in our office,” McMahon said. “Her heady work early in this case helped assure that the victim would be safe from Mr. Durbin. My thanks also to Elgin Police Det. Scott St. John for his diligent work. And thanks also to Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Jamie Mosser and Megan Matuska, who prosecuted the case.”