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Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Appellate Court Affirms Conviction in 2012 Murder
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced today that the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois has affirmed the First Degree Murder conviction of Todd Mandoline, 31, (d.o.b. 2/28/1985) for starting a 2012 fire that claimed the life of his former girlfriend, Paula Morgan, 24, of Lombard. On January 20, 2012, a jury found Mandoline guilty of First Degree Murder and Aggravated Arson. On April 30, 2015, Judge John Kinsella sentenced him consecutive terms of imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections - twenty-seven years for murder and twelve years for Aggravated Arson.
On July 21, 2012, Mandoline attended a birthday party Morgan held for herself at her home in Lombard. During the party, Mandoline was asked to leave, which he did. In the early morning hours of July 22, however, Mandoline returned to the home and set fire to Morgan’s mother’s car located in the driveway. The fire spread to the home and ultimately claimed Morgan’s life and severely injured a friend of Morgan’s.
In his appeal, Mandoline argued that; probable cause did not exist for his arrest; he did not voluntarily reinitiate questioning after the initial interrogation has ceased due to his invocation of his right of counsel; his statements to police were not voluntary, knowing or intelligent; statements he did make were in violation of law that requires electronic recording; and the trial court erred in its jury instructions. In its affirmation, the Appellate Court found that the Trial Court acted properly and within its power on each of the issues raised by Mandoline. Justice Birkett delivered the judgment of the Court with Justices Burke and Spence concurring.
Mandoline’s appeal was defended by Edward Psenicka of the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Criminal Appeals Division.
“I would like to thank the Appellate Court for their extremely thorough and detailed review of Mr. Mandoline’s claims,” Berlin said. “The issues raised by Mr. Mandoline in his appeal were nothing more than a last, desperate attempt to avoid responsibility for the murder of Paula Morgan. It is my sincerest hope that with the Appellate Court’s decision, Paula Morgan’s family and friends will now be able to proceed with their lives knowing that Mr. Mandoline will pay for what he has taken from them.”