Trials & Litigation

Guilty Plea in Elderly Ex-Lawyer's Murder Includes Promise to Testify Against Another Defendant

At first, authorities thought former Illinois attorney Carl Kuhn might have died of natural causes.

However, his home was in disarray and an autopsy showed that the 82-year-old suburban Chicago resident had been smothered. Today, Keith Allen, 22, pleaded guilty to the 2009 murder and agreed to testify against a co-defendant, Terry Bratcher, 44, who is accused of physically committing the crime, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Bratcher, who was a friend of Kuhn’s, had access to his home in Bartlett in DuPage County. He and Allen allegedly plotted to steal 43 antique guns from Kuhn that authorities say they found in Bratcher’s home. An earlier Daily Herald article says Kuhn represented Bratcher while he was still practicing in Glen Ellyn.

The former police officer and longtime criminal defense lawyer was disciplined for neglecting clients as he struggled to work while caring for his ailing wife of nearly 50 years and eventually was disbarred when he continued to practice while suspended, reports another Chicago Tribune article.

A veteran of World War II, Kuhn was an avid gun collector and Second Amendment advocate.

Prosecutors will recommend that Allen, who says he only agreed to participate in the burglary of the guns, get no more than 50 years when he is sentenced in April, the Tribune reports. The maximum is 60 years.

Both Allen and Bratcher reportedly confessed to the crime, on videotape.

The articles don’t include any comment from either defendant or his counsel.

At last report, Bratcher was charged with first-degree murder, home invasion, armed robbery and residential burglary.

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