February Trial Dates for Three Suspects in Delaney Death, Concealment Case

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Published on December 23 2013 4:32 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

February 10 trial dates were scheduled Monday in the cases of all three defendants in the murder and concealment of former Effingham resident Joseph Delaney.

57-year-old Christine Burr is charged with three counts of first degree murder and Burr, her daughter 40-year-old Kristy Mathis of Effingham and 25-year-old Zebediah Houser of Effingham are each charged with concealment of a homicidal death.

Prosecutors allege Burr threw a pot of boiling water into Delaney's face and then stabbed him in the chest with a knife, leading to Delaney's death.  It's also alleged that Burr, Mathis and Houser were involved in removing Delaney's body from the apartment he and Burr had shared, putting it in a van and then dumping the body in a wooded area north of Newton along the Embarras River.

An Effingham County Grand Jury indicted the three on the counts in the days since they were arrested, eliminating the need for a hearing as to whether enough evidence exists to hold them over for a trial.

All three remain in Effingham County Jail.  Burr's bond is $1 million and Mathis and Houser are being held under $200,000 bond each.  Pre-trial hearings were set for each defendant; Burr is due in court January 21 at 10am, Mathis' hearing was set for 11am on January 23, and Houser is next due in court at 11am on January 27.

Assistant State's Attorney Scott Ealy entered information that Mathis and Houser are eligible for extended term sentences if found guilty of the charges, in that each has been convicted of previous felony offenses.   Their sentences could range to a maximum of five to 10 years in prison.