William Curl

Matthew Apgar / Daily Chronicle

DeKalb County Judge Robbin Stuckert denied a petition requesting to void a guilty plea for the man convicted of killing Northern Illinois University student Toni Keller.

Judge Stuckert ruled in her 11-page opinion there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that William Curl’s rights were infringed upon throughout the case.

Curl’s lawyer previously argued he had inadequate legal representation before and was not in his right mind when questioned by police. Curl claimed prosecutors coerced him into the guilty plea because they threatened to also charge his son in Keller’s murder.

Matthew Apgar / Daily Chronicle

The man who pleaded guilty to murdering Northern Illinois University student Toni Keller in 2010 will have to wait until next month to know if his petition to void that plea will be granted.

William Curl’s lawyer says Curl was not in his right mind during police interviews. He says Curl claimed he smoked the psychedelic plant salvia before those interviews and says Curl's responses should have been suppressed because of that.

A hearing to determine whether 41-year old William Curl can withdraw his April 2013 guilty plea for murdering NIU freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller began yesterday.

Curl maintains that his guilty plea was coerced by prosecutors who also threatened to charge his teenage son. He also alleges poor representation from his court-appointed attorney.

Circuit Court Judge Robbin Stuckert ruled that William Curl can continue his post-conviction appeal.

The 40-year old DeKalb resident pleaded guilty in the 2010 killing of Northern Illinois University freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller.  Her burned body was found in a park two days after she disappeared. 

Curl filed for post-conviction relief in 2015 and argues he was coerced into pleading guilty. He says then-State's Attorney Richard Schmack threatened to prosecute his 13-year-old son in connection with Keller's murder.

Curl Wants Plea Deal Overturned

Aug 14, 2013

The man serving a 37-year prison sentence for killing an NIU student wants his plea overturned. According to the Daily Chronicle, William Curl filed the hand-written motion from Menard Correctional Center. He claims physical issues prevented him from understanding the agreement he accepted in April.