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Island Lake man's calls restricted, bond increased by judge

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 2:25 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:51 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County Judge increased an Island Lake man's bond, and restricted his phone calls to only his attorney, after prosecutors said he tried to get his girlfriend to recant her police statement.

Ronald O. Starling, 46, is charged with multiple domestic battery related felonies and is accused of choking his girlfriend to the point of unconsciousness while, according to the criminal complaint, saying "I'm going to kill you (expletive)."

He has pleaded not guilty, and has been in custody of the McHenry County Jail.

Starling was ordered by the court to have no contact with the alleged victim.

Assistant State's Attorney Kate Lenhard said she'd listed to "hours" of recorded jail calls between Starling and his mother, in which the defendant asked her to contact the alleged victim and her family. He wanted the woman to sign a hand-written affidavit recanting her earlier statements about the April 12 alleged incident.

The letter also included a nine-step to do list for filing the affidavit. Step nine read "pat yourself on the back! Your husband is coming home."

He labeled it as legal mail to prevent jail personnel from opening it, Lenhard said.

Judge Gordon Graham granted the prosecutor's request, over objections from Starling's defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Grant Tucker, who said the handwriting in the letter had not been determined to be Starling's, and that the bond increase and phone call limitations were overly restrictive.

Graham increased Starling's bond to $100,000 and said he can only call Tucker.

"Obviously he doesn't have the common sense not to say anything over the phone because it's being recorded," Graham said.

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