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Chicago man pleads not guilty to Island Lake murder

Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 12:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 4, 2014 12:27 a.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A Chicago parolee has denied charges that he killed a woman in her Island Lake home.

Howard E. Dibbern, 49, was arrested in early June, accused of beating and stabbing Karen M. Scavelli and breaking her neck. An autopsy revealed she died from blunt force trauma.

Dibbern was arraigned Thursday before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather. He pleaded not guilty to all charges, including two for first-degree murder.

A McHenry County grand jury on June 25 returned a criminal indictment, and with it Dibbern also was charged with concealing 48-year-old Scavelli’s homicide. According to the indictment, he placed a plastic bag over her head and hid her body under pillows, blankets and clothing in the master bedroom of her home at 735 Dartmouth Drive in Island Lake.

Dibbern remains in custody at the McHenry County Jail unable to post 10 percent of his $2 million bond.

According to a financial affidavit, Dibbern is unemployed and had been living with family in Chicago. Police have said he is from McHenry.

It’s still unclear how Scavelli and Dibbern knew each other. Authorities have said they were “short-term acquaintances.”

Dibbern also was charged with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, for allegedly crashing a car belonging to Scavelli into a home in Mundelein. Authorities have said that after the crash he got into an altercation with police there and brandished a knife at officers who subdued him with a stun gun. He was treated for injuries at a Lake County hospital and taken into custody three days later.

Dibbern has a criminal history dating back to 1997 with felony convictions for forgery, theft, residential burglary and aggravated domestic battery.

He was paroled in April after serving three years on a weapons charge out of Cook County.

According to McHenry County court records, Dibbern in 2002 was accused of stabbing his girlfriend with a knife, choking her and punching her in the stomach.

In that case, he stole the woman’s car and was charged with theft. A misdemeanor domestic battery charge was dropped, and he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for theft.

Dibbern’s next court date is July 24.

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