St. Louis Public Radio News
7:30 am
Fri March 27, 2009

Death penalty not sought in Metro East church killing

Edwardsville, Ill. – Prosecutors in the Metro East said they will not seek the death penalty for Terry Sedlacek, the man accused of killing a Baptist minister during a church service nearly three weeks ago.

Sedlacek faces first degree murder charges in the death of Pastor Fred Winters. He was also charged with aggravated battery in the stabbing of two parishioners at the First Baptist Church in Maryville.

Prosecutors said the decision not to seek capital punishment came after consulting with the victim's family. No inmate has been put to death in Illinois since former Gov. George Ryan put executions on hold in 2000.

On Thursday, Sedlacek told a Madison County judge by video link from jail that he wanted to plead guilty. But that was after his attorney entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

Judge Charles Romani said the not guilty plea will stand.