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Homicide suspect Dibbern appears in court

Published: Friday, June 6, 2014 12:36 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, June 7, 2014 12:23 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided)
Howard E. Dibbern is held on $2 million bond on two first-degree murder charges. Authorities believe he killed 48-year-old Karen M. Scavelli earlier this week.

WOODSTOCK – The man accused of killing an Island Lake woman was wheeled into rights court Friday morning, appearing to still be recovering from injuries.

Howard E. Dibbern is being held on $2 million bond on two first-degree murder charges. Authorities believe he killed 48-year-old Karen M. Scavelli earlier this week.

An autopsy revealed Scavelli died from blunt force injuries to the neck and head. McHenry County Coroner Dr. Anne Majewski on Friday said the woman had a broken neck. The criminal complaint accuses Dibbern of striking and stabbing her, but the coroner said Scavelli’s stab wounds did not contribute to her death.

Dibbern, 49, appeared before a McHenry County judge with a large wound on the right side of his head and multiple vertical cuts on both of his arms.

Judge Robert Wilbrant explained to Dibbern his rights and set his next court date for Tuesday. He was appointed a public defender, but told the judge he may be able to hire private counsel.

According to a financial affidavit, Dibbern is unemployed and had been living with his uncle and cousin in Chicago. Police have said he is from McHenry. He told the judge that he sometimes worked in the food industry, but didn’t specify further.

It’s still unclear how Scavelli and Dibbern knew each other. McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said the investigation is ongoing. The sheriff’s office is looking for help to piece together a timeline, but have said the two were “short-term acquaintances.”

Island Lake police found Scavelli dead in her 735 Dartmouth Drive home Monday after being called to check on her well-being just after 9:30 p.m.

Neighbors have said they saw Scavelli speaking with a man outside her home, but that they heard or witnessed no other disturbances.

Dibbern was taken into custody the next day, after giving police a short chase and crashing a car belonging to Scavelli into a home in Mundelein. McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke has said Dibbern got into an altercation with police, who eventually subdued the man with a stun gun.

Dibbern then was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was treated for injuries, but immediately taken into custody Thursday upon his release.

Authorities won’t comment on the nature of Dibbern’s injuries or how he received them.

Dibbern was paroled April 24 after serving three years on a weapons charge out of Cook County, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections records. His criminal history dates back to 1997 with convictions for forgery, theft, residential burglary and aggravated domestic battery.

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