JOLIET – A Romeoville man who killed his wife seven years ago has asked for police to return items collected as evidence – including the “murder weapon.”
John J. Sadler, 74, appeared in court Thursday before Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak seeking the return of property that belonged to his late wife, Carol Sadler.
Court records show Sadler filed two months ago for Romeoville police to turn over some of her personal items, his computers and tools – including a 1-foot hammer that was taken during the investigation.
On July 26, 2010, officers were called to the Sadlers’ home in the 1600 block of Benzie Circle in Romeoville after their daughter asked police to check on her mother’s well-being because she had been unable to contact her for several days.
Sadler said his wife was out of town and would return that afternoon, but when officers returned that evening with a police dog to check again, they smelled an odor that made them suspicious.
Police found Carol Sadler’s decaying body in a laundry room near the front door. John Sadler told police he’d hit his wife of 46 years on the head with a hammer one time during an argument 10 days earlier and she never got up.
He was initially arrested on murder charges, but those were dropped three months later because medical tests reportedly couldn’t prove hammer injuries Carol Saddler suffered triggered the heart attack that led to her death.
In 2015, John Sadler pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and concealing a homicide – he was sentenced to three years in prison and intensive probation.
The computers and toolboxes were ordered returned before Thursday’s hearing and Sadler did not pursue the request for the hammer. He still is seeking his wife’s gold purse, a pair of diamond earrings and her eyeglasses, said his attorney, Ignatius Villasenor.
Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Frank Byers objected to having the items returned.
“It just seems inimical to the interest of justice (that) the items she wore at the time of her death – the time of her concealment – be returned to the person who caused her death,” Byers said.
But Villasenor said that under the law, marital property that wasn’t specifically willed to someone else by Carol Sadler is passed to her husband.
“Even though he’s responsible for her death?” Bertani-Tomczak said. “Why does he want a gold purse?”
“They apparently have some meaning to him. As distasteful as all this is, he still has a legal interest (in the items),” Villasenor said.
After a discussion with his attorney, John Sadler agreed to drop his request to have his late wife’s earrings – which are valued at $4,000 – returned provided they would be given to one of his daughters.