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In a tragic event, volunteer firefighter Matthew Plote was found guilty of killing his pregnant girlfriend, Melissa Lamesch, and her unborn baby in November 2020. The Ogle County jury convicted Plote on 10 criminal charges, including first-degree murder, after prosecutors argued that he strangled Lamesch and set her home on fire just before her baby’s due date. Plote, who was the biological father of the unborn child, did not show emotion when the verdict was read. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges and has been detained since his arrest in March 2022.

The incident came to light when firefighters responding to a house fire found Lamesch’s body in the kitchen. Plote, during a recorded interview with investigators, acknowledged being at Lamesch’s home on the day she was found dead but claimed he had no intention of hurting her. Although he did not provide a motive, prosecutors alleged that Plote did not want anything to do with the unborn baby and had even suggested Lamesch get an abortion. Despite the lack of a clear motive from Plote’s side, the prosecution maintained that he was the one responsible for Lamesch’s death.

During closing arguments, Plote’s defense attorney declared his client’s innocence, stating that he did not commit the crimes he was accused of. He urged the jury to base their decision on facts rather than emotions. However, Assistant State’s Attorney Heather Kruse pushed for a guilty verdict, emphasizing the violent nature of the encounter that led to Lamesch’s death. She argued that Plote was the one who had strangled Lamesch and that no one else had a motive to commit the murder. The jury deliberated for two hours before convicting Plote on multiple charges related to the killing of Lamesch and her unborn baby.

Plote is scheduled for a post-trial status hearing on April 25 as he awaits sentencing. The news of this horrifying incident shocked the community and left many questioning how such a violent act could have taken place, especially involving someone who was supposed to protect others as a volunteer firefighter. The trial shed light on the tragic circumstances surrounding Lamesch’s death and the unborn baby she was carrying, leaving a lasting impact on those involved in the case and the wider community. The pursuit of justice for Lamesch and her unborn child continues as Plote faces the consequences of his actions in court.

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