A Bond County woman entered a negotiated plea of guilty Friday in Bond County Circuit Court to killing Richard R. Blake, age 70, in their rural Sorento home on June 11, 2019.
Wendy E. Denzler, age 41, withdrew previous not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty to second degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death. She accepted the maximum prison sentences for the offenses, 20 years for second degree murder and five years for concealment of a homicidal death.
The sentences will be served consecutively. State’s Attorney Dora Mann said Denzler will have to serve 50 percent of the 25 years, then will be on mandatory supervised release for two years.
Blake and Denzler were boyfriend and girlfriend.
As part of the plea agreement, five counts of first degree murder against Denzler were dismissed. The count of concealment of a homicidal death replaced the original charge of obstructing justice.
Denzler reported the shooting of Blake late the night of June 11. 2019. She said in her 9-1-1 call that Blake had allegedly shot himself in the head. Deputies arrived at the home and found the victim dead in the bathtub and a handgun nearby. Denzler told officers she was in another room when she heard a bang.
State’s Attorney Mann said in her possible evidence if the case would have gone to trial, that one of the deputies felt the scene at the home appeared staged.
Three days later Denzler was brought in for questioning, was read her rights, then admitted to firing the fatal shot into the left temple of Blake. The defendant said she and Blake had been arguing about their relationship and their finances.
Mann also stated Denzler’s 12-year daughter was in another room of the house when the shooting took place.
During Friday morning’s hearing, Blake’s two daughters presented victim impact statements.
Denzler made a brief comment, stating, “I loved Rick. I’m so sorry this has happened. If I could change what happened, I would.”