Homicide Suspect Living in Arizona Charged in 20 Year-Old Homicide Case in Russell in Lake County

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Murder suspect Samuel William Legg III booking photo
Murder suspect Samuel William Legg III booking photo.

The Lake County Sheriff’s announced Wednesday July 29, 2020 that through a collaborative effort with multiple law-enforcement entities, law officers accomplished the arrest and capture of suspected serial killer Samuel William Legg III, 52, of Chandler, Arizona. The investigation into the case by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office stemmed from the 1997 murder of Julie A Konkol, when Konkol was 39 years of age.

Russell is an unincorporated community in Lake County about 5 miles south of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line, and now mostly east of Interstate 94 and west of Winthrop Harbor. The community is located on Russell Road, a few miles east of Interstate 94

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Chicago Field Office, Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI), authorities in Medina County, Wood County, Lorain County, and Mahoning County Ohio, collaborated and worked closely together throughout the extensive investigation.

On October 23, 1997, Julie’s body was discovered deceased behind an abandoned truck stop located on Old US 41 and Russell Road, in Russell Illinois. At the time of the initial incident, the abandoned truck stop was known as “Senter’s” located at 43067 Old Route 41 in Russell, Illinois. Following an autopsy, Konkol’s death was ruled a homicide caused by asphyxiation by manual strangulation. The sheriff’s office conducted an extensive investigation and after all leads were exhausted, her case went cold.

In 2006, the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) linked DNA collected from Konkol’s homicide with a 1996 homicide in Wood County Ohio, and again in 2012, with a 1992 homicide in Mahoning County, Ohio. At that time the DNA was said to have been from an unknown male. Legg’s DNA was not logged in CODIS because he had not been arrested or convicted of a felony since collecting began, which resulted in the collected DNA samples being labeled as that of an unknown male contributor.

In 2018 the unknown male contributor’s DNA was tested looking for a familial or a direct connection. A familial connection was found. This connection was investigated, and the link steered investigators to a break in these cases, which led to Legg being identified as our primary suspect. Legg was subsequently found to be a one-in-one-trillion match as being the source of the DNA found on Konkol.

At the time of these homicides, Legg was an over the road truck driver primarily working in the Midwest and living in Ohio.

In January 2019, Medina Ohio authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Legg for a separate 1997 sexual assault case. At this time, Legg was living in Arizona, where he was arrested and subsequently extradited to Ohio where he was interviewed by Lake County Sheriff’s Detectives and Ohio authorities regarding the homicides.

After reviewing the facts and evidence in the murder investigation of Konkol, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office approved two counts of first-degree murder for Legg On July 29, 2020, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit appeared in Lake County Court where a Judge approved the arrest warrant for Legg and set a bond amount at $3,000,000.00.

“We are so thankful we were able to take the first steps of providing justice to Julie Konkol and her family. We always strive to be the voice of those who cannot speak anymore and always stand with victims as their advocates to ensure they can achieve justice. Even if investigative leads on a case begin to go cold, we will never allow a victim’s case to collect dust on a shelf, our Cold Case Unit regularly looks at them in our relentless pursuit of justice for victims.”

— Sheriff John Idleburg

“This is a great example of what can happen when law enforcement agencies work together,” said Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim. “This case has been a dark cloud hanging over Lake County for nearly 25 years. But, through the gallant effort and tenacity of numerous law enforcement agencies and people involved, a murderer will finally answer for his crime. My thanks goes out to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, several law enforcement agencies in Ohio and employees from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office for seeing this investigation through.”

Legg is currently being held in the Medina County, Ohio, Jail. He will eventually face extradition to Lake County on the charges related to the murder of Konkol.

Murder suspect Samuel William Legg III booking photo
Murder suspect Samuel William Legg III recent booking photo.
Murder suspect Samuel William Legg III in 1990
Murder suspect Samuel William Legg III in 1990.
Homicide victim Julie Konkol
Homicide victim Julie Konkol.

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