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Elgin woman pleads guilty to stabbing murder

JessicLeach / phofrom Kane County State's Attorney's office

Jessica Leach / photo from Kane County State's Attorney's office

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Updated: February 21, 2013 6:45AM

An Elgin woman pleaded guilty to her role in the 2011 stabbing death of an Elgin man, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office announced.

Jessica S. Leach, 29, of the first block of Poplar Creek Drive, Friday agreed to a sentence of 20 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in exchange for a guilty plea to first-degree murder.

Circuit Judge John A. Barsanti accepted the plea.

According to authorities, on Dec. 17, 2011, Leach and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Marvin Finklea, began to follow through with a plan to rob an acquaintance of Leach, 61-year-old James Granger of Elgin.

Early the next morning, Leach joined Granger in his apartment in the first block of Times Square. Leach was to signal Finklea via cell phone when to join them in the apartment, but she was using the wrong telephone number. Finklea eventually entered the apartment, became enraged and stabbed Granger multiple times, and then set fire to Granger’s body. After Leach and Finklea left Granger’s apartment together, a witness noticed smoke from the fire and called 911.

Later that day Finklea drank large quantity of alcohol and ingested a variety of narcotics. Finklea then tried to hijack two vehicles. As he attempted to hijack the second vehicle, and the driver began to speed away, Finklea grabbed onto the car and was dragged for a short distance, suffering multiple injuries. Finklea died a few days later as a result of the narcotics and alcohol.

According to Illinois law, Leach must serve the entire 20-year sentence. Leach was given credit for at least 397 days served in the Kane County Jail, where she had been held since her arrest in lieu of $1 million bail.

The case was prosecuted by Kane County First Assistant State’s Attorney Jody Gleason.

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