A man with a history of mental illness was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday for stabbing his mother to death and then defiling her body with household chemicals.
Robert Lyons, 39, had been found guilty last year of the March 14, 2008 first-degree murder of his mother, Linda Bolek, 61, who was found dead in the Carol Stream condo she shared with her son and her boyfriend.
Lyons was eligible for up to life in prison, and prosecutors suggested DuPage County Judge Kathryn Creswell give a 65-year sentence. Creswell cited Lyons' record of psychiatric hospitalizations and treatments in handing down the 40-year sentence.
At the time of murder, Lyons had been receiving treatment for bipolar disorder and had a history that included a suicide attempt and in-patient treatments. In a lengthy statement to the court Friday, Lyons said he had not been taking his medications when he attacked his mother after another in a regular series of arguments between them.
"Obviously, when he's not medicated, bad things happen," said Creswell. "But the question is, what would happen if the defendant were released and on his own?"
Lyons told the court that he attacked his mother after they returned to the Klein Creek condo after running errands, and the tasks were punctuated by an argument over Lyons' routine of buying flowers to distribute to hostesses at an Outback Steak House he frequented.
Earlier, the pair argued when Bolek refused to help her son get free tickets to an Avril Lavigne concert.
Lyons, who said his mother subjected him to relentless verbal abuse, said he "snapped" when he saw her pick up a kitchen knife and that he attacked her, bashing her in the head with a cognac bottle before stabbing her nine times in the back. He then poured household cleaners and insecticide on Bolek's body.
In his statement to the court, Lyons stressed that he did not plan to kill his mother. The judge said she agreed, although premeditation is not required for a first-degree murder conviction,
"I do not feel the murder was premeditated," Creswell said. "The scene in the kitchen was one of chaos."
After the slaying, Lyons left the condo and drove to a bookstore where he bought a book, on whose inside cover he inscribed the name of a character from a soap opera. Lyons then drove around the northwest suburbs for hours before contacting police, who arrested him at the Hooters restaurant at Woodfield Mall.
Bolek's boyfriend, Stan Matusiak, said he credited prosecutors.
"Forty years is 40 years," he said. "It's like a life sentence."
Matusiak said Bolek had taken her son in after he was evicted from a Chicago YMCA for erratic behavior.