Man Gets 3 Life Sentences Plus 60 Years for Hoffman Estates Triple Murder

George Houde, Chicago Tribune, July 9, 2014

The man who murdered three members of a Hoffman Estates family and seriously wounded another in a 2009 knife attack was sentenced today to three life sentences without parole plus an additional 60 years.

D’Andre Howard, 26, showed no emotion as Cook County Judge Ellen Mandeltort delivered the sentence in a crowded Rolling Meadows courtroom.

D'Andre Howard

D’Andre Howard

Howard, who was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder in June, faced a mandatory life sentence in the stabbing deaths of Laura Engelhardt, 18; her father Alan Engelhardt, 57; and her grandmother Marlene Gacek, 73; and the attack on Laura’s mother, Shelly Engelhardt, who survived with serious injuries.

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From left: Jeff Engelhardt, Amanda Engelhardt, her daughter, and Shelly Engelhardt.

From left: Jeff Engelhardt, Amanda Engelhardt, her daughter with D’Andre Howard, and Shelly Engelhardt.

Assistant public defender Deana Binstock asked for leniency for Howard, saying he suffered from mental illness and “never had a chance in life.”

Assistant state’s attorney Maria McCarthy asked for the maximum sentence, saying Howard planned the murders and made family members “watch their loved ones dead and dying” in the home.

Mandeltort said the Engelhardt family welcomed Howard into its home and tried to give him support and a chance in life.

“His response was to murder three members of that family,” she said in handing down the sentence.

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His mother, Constance Taylor, handed reporters a written note after the hearing. It said, in part, “I would like to apologize to the (Englehardt) family for the pain that my son has caused. The family will remain in my prayers. We all have suffered through this trying time.”

Howard was taken from Taylor when he was 6 and became a ward of the state for the rest of his childhood. He met Amanda Engelhardt at a party in 2006 and they became involved, according to Amanda’s testimony during the June trial. {snip}

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The victims were found on April 17, 2009, in their home on Bluebonnet Lane in Hoffman Estates along with Howard, who was arrested the same day.

During the June trial, Howard spent about three hours testifying in his own defense, saying he was hearing voices and loud noises in his head when he tied up his fiancée Amanda Engelhardt and her mother Shelly Engelhardt and told them he was going to torture and murder the family in front of them.

When Laura Engelhardt woke up, Howard tied her up, too, but when he untied her briefly, she wrestled the knife from him and stabbed him superficially in the arm. That apparently set him off, and he started to wave his arms wildly, stabbing Laura and Shelly Engelhardt multiple times.

He later attacked Gacek and Alan Engelhardt as they each emerged from their upstairs bedrooms.

Howard has been in custody since the murders. Amanda Engelhardt, who was present but not injured during the attack, and Shelly Engelhardt both testified against Howard at the trial. {snip}

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