February 22, 2015
More than nine years after an Aurora woman was found shot to death along a hiking path, the man who originally pleaded guilty to her murder in 2009 abandoned his bid Friday for a new trial.
In a Kane County court hearing, Garang Deng, 23, again entered a guilty plea to the 2005 murder of Marilyn Bethell. Deng’s conviction had been overturned on appeal last year, but after exploring legal options, he opted to accept the terms of the original plea deal — 35 years in prison for first-degree murder.
I’m glad it’s finally done,” Bethell’s sister, Pauline O’Neill, said after the hearing.
Authorities say Deng, then 14, broke into Bethell’s home on the far north side of Aurora on Oct. 30, 2005. Bethell’s body was found in late December near the Illinois Prairie Path in Kane County. The substance abuse counselor had been killed by a single gunshot to the head.
Deng was charged with murder in 2007, with police saying they had found his DNA in Bethell’s house, along with his bicycle outside. Police later recovered a Russian-made handgun in Deng’s house that they said was a partial match to the bullet that killed Bethell.