Gurnee Police Officer Denies Allegations: Faces Charges of Aggravated Domestic Battery and Other Battery Charges; Accused of Building a DIY ‘Murder Kit’

Michael E. Stoner, aggravated battery and domestic batter suspect
Michael E. Stoner, aggravated battery and domestic batter suspect.

Gurnee police officer Michael E. Stoner, age 34 of the block of 800 Geddes Court in Wintrop Harbor, turned himself in at the Lake County jail Wednesday July 1, 2020 to face charges of aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery and domestic battery, according to Gurnee police. According to court records, Stoner faces one felony count of aggravated domestic battery, one felony account of aggravated battery/great bodily harm, one misdemeanor count of domestic battery/bodily harm, and one misdemeanor count of domestic battery/physical contact — all issued on June 30, 2020.

The victim filed an order of protection after the most recent incident that occurred March 3, 2020 in Winthrop Harbor. Stoner also filed an order of protection, but Stoner’s order was later withdrawn.

Winthrop Harbor police recorded 17 reports at Stoner’s residence. A domestic battery case in 2018 involved an allegation that Michael E. Stoner pushed the victim down a flight of stairs, and that the victim injured her knee.

After the allegations surfaced, police said, Stoner was placed on administrative leave with the Gurnee Police Department, and he will remain on leave during court proceedings. There is no indication the alleged offenses occurred while Stoner was on duty, according to the Gurnee Police Department.

Michael Stoner’s attorney, Joseph D. Zeit, said during a hearing Wednesday that Stoner, who is “vehemently denying” the allegations, and that Stoner has not had contact with the victim since January 2020. Zeit argued that Stoner wasn’t a flight risk and said he’s a lifelong Lake County resident who has been employed by the Village of Gurnee for 7 1/2 years.

“Defense counsel says that there is no threat here, but during this investigation, there was an attempt by the defendant to purchase, which I call a ‘murder kit,’ which contained Clorox bleach, a shovel, a rope and plastic sheets,” according to Lake County Assistant State’s Demetri Tsilimigras in the hearing. “This was done on January 29, 2020, just a few months ago.” Furthermore, Tsilimigras said Stoner abused the victim since December 2016, including threatening to kill the victim, the victim’s son and the victim’s father.

While the initial warrant was set at $75,000 bail, Judge Paul B. Novak reduced it to $40,000 and ordered Stoner to have no contact with the victim, others he threatened, nor the victim’s residence or workplace. Judge Paul B. Novak also ordered Stoner to turn over any firearms or ammunition in his possession to Winthrop Harbor police.

Stoner has already turned over his weapons and ammunition to his father, Zeit said. Gurnee police said Stoner was “immediately placed on administrative leave” when the department was notified about the allegations and will remain on leave “pending all court proceedings.”

“We take this matter very seriously, and will continue to cooperate any way we can. “We remain mindful of the fact that there is a presumption of innocence for all defendants. Therefore we will have no comment on the alleged charges and will allow the matter to proceed through the legal system.”

— Gurnee Police Chief Brian Smith

Stoner is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing at 9:00 a.m. on July 28, 2020 in Lake Court Room T110.

Michael E. Stoner, aggravated battery and domestic batter suspect.

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