LISLE, Ill. — A 43-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of a suburban Chicago woman more than 20 years ago.

The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports that Thomas Spear of Peoria entered the plea Monday to the murder charge and forgery charges. He is being held on $3 million bail in the DuPage County jail. Spear was charged last month in the August 1994 death of 71-year-old Illa Venard of Lisle.

Venard’s body was found in her condominium. Police at the time said they believed she had been dead for several days before her son found her.

Prosecutors say they reopened the cold case earlier this year and found Spear in Peoria. They say he confessed to Venard’s killing, including using a rope and hook to reach her second-story unit.

Information from: Daily Herald,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.