Jeffrey Gurley, a 31-year-old Kentucky man who brutally stabbed a Hodgkins man and left him bleeding inside the bedroom of a Brookfield apartment in 2012, finally pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree attempted murder on May 16.
Judge Paula Daleo sentenced him to 21 years in prison, putting an end to a case that’s awaited resolution for more than five years. Gurley must serve 85 percent of the sentence, according to the terms of the plea agreement. Since he has already served five years, Gurley will be eligible for parole in January 2030, when he will be 44 years old.
In April 2012, Gurley hopped on a bus and traveled from Campbellsville, Kentucky, to Brookfield. His intentions were violent.
In and out of jail five times between 2008 and 2011, Gurley had befriended a female guard at the Taylor County Detention Center and the two later struck up a romantic relationship. By early 2012, the 32-year-old woman had left Kentucky and moved to a basement apartment in the 8900 block of Burlington Avenue in Brookfield.
On April 11, 2012 she got a phone call. On the other end of the line was Gurley, who said he was on his way to see her. Frightened because of past death threats Gurley had made and of his violent behavior, she called Brookfield police, who escorted her to the apartment to pick up some items so that she could stay with a friend.
The following day at about 7:30 p.m., she returned to the apartment with her 34-year-old brother, who went inside to pick up a few more items. Her brother entered the apartment. He didn’t come back outside and for 10 minutes hadn’t answered calls to his cellphone.
She called police again. An officer knocked on the door of the apartment and Gurley opened it. There was blood all over the floor and a broken knife — the blade on an air mattress, the handle on the floor – in the living room. From inside the apartment the officer heard a muffled voice cry out, “Help.”
Gurley tried to slam the door shut, but the officer forced his way in and reached for his sidearm when Gurley held out his hands, saying, “Just take me.”
Inside the bedroom, police found the woman’s brother lying on the floor of the bedroom. Stabbed several times in the chest, abdomen and neck, he was handcuffed and covered in blankets and blood. A belt from a terrycloth robe was wrapped around his neck and suspended from a rod in the closet.
“I’m gonna die,” he told police.
But he didn’t.
An ambulance responding to an unrelated call was only a block away. Paramedics rushed him to Loyola University Medical Center at the same time one of its top heart surgeons was present.
He spent more than a month recovering in the hospital and surprised officers when he walked into the Brookfield police station on June 1, 2012, to thank them for saving his life.
“It’s a miracle,” then Lt. Edward Petrak said at the time.
Gurley has been held without bond since his arrest. He was housed first at Cook County Jail before being moved to Kankakee County Jail. A grand jury handed down a 20-count indictment against Gurley in May 2012, charging him with attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, home invasion, burglary and armed violence.
As part of the plea deal, all of the charges except for the attempted murder charge, were dropped.
This story has been changed to correct when Jeffrey Gurley is eligible for parole.