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Governor, legislators respond to criminal killing wife after pretrial release | Illinois


(The Center Square) – On Friday, Julie Elguezabal was murdered by her husband, Winston Elguezabal, in Villa Park.

Winston was out on pretrial release and wearing an electronic monitoring device, which notified police that he was close to his wife. But when officers got there minutes later, they found the couple dead.

Some legislators say the Pretrial Fairness Act, which eliminated cash bail statewide, needs to be reformed. Others want Karina’s Bill to pass, which would strengthen the law that allows police to confiscate alleged domestic abusers’ firearms.

In a social media post, state Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, called for Karina’s Bill to pass this legislative session. State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, said the Pretrial Fairness Act is the problem.

“Now we’re dealing with the aftermath [of passing the Pretrial Fairness Act] and the aftermath is terrible,” Caulkins told The Center Square. “This horrific crime could have been prevented and this person should have been restrained and his wife should have been protected.”

Hirschauer said the shooting is yet another “unacceptable loss resulting from the intersection of domestic violence and firearms.”

“Each day that passes without action on Karina’s Bill means more lives shattered and more futures stolen. Enough is enough,” stated Hirschauer on social media.

Caulkins said the law already has protections. For example, if an individual in Illinois is accused of domestic violence and has an order of protection filed against them, then the Illinois State Police automatically revokes their Firearm Owners Identification card.

“The ISP will tell me to surrender my FOID card to the sheriff and they will remove all guns from my possession,” said Caulkins.

Illinoisans without a FOID card can’t be in possession of a firearm legally. Karina’s Bill takes it a step further and allows judges to issue search warrants with orders of protection to remove any guns in possession of the alleged abusers.

Caulkins said the Pretrial Fairness Act is a flawed law that barely passed out of the General Assembly.

“There doesn’t seem to be any will in this building to actually do something that’s going to reduce crime,” said Caulkins.

The bill is named in honor of Karina Gonzalez, who was shot and killed in July by her husband. He also killed Gonzalez’s 15-year-old daughter, Daniela. House Bill 4469 and Senate Bill 2633, also known as Karina’s bill, remains in committee. 

Gov. J.B Pritzker isn’t calling for any legislative changes to the Pretrial Fairness Act which ended cash bail statewide, but he said domestic violence is something that needs to be taken very seriously.

 Separately, state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker discuss the aftermath of a murder/suicide

“I think it’s really important for state’s attorneys and judges to take very seriously the Pretrial Fairness Act, which is intended to deal with situations like this. Being a state’s attorney is a hard job. Being a judge is a hard job. These are new undertakings for many people. I don’t know that there needs to be any legislative change, but in handling cases, we need to make sure domestic violence is taken very seriously when anybody is considered for incarceration or not,” Pritzker said Tuesday.

Pritzker said he supports the “concept” of Karina’s Bill but Illinois State Police and law enforcement say it’s difficult to remove a firearm from somebody.

“Even if they have given up their FOID card and in the instance where you need to confiscate the firearm, literally you have to bring sometimes four officers to one situation in order to remove the weapon. And if somebody doesn’t want to give it to you, it becomes quite complicated and possibly dangerous,” said Pritzker.

Four officers in North Carolina were shot and killed by a man on Monday; the deadliest attack on law enforcement since 2016. The officers had an arrest warrant for Terry Hughes, who was wanted for possession of a firearm by an ex-felon.

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