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Accused killer of NIU student to undergo mental examination

Bryan Alaspa's picture

The man accused of murdering Northern Illinois University student Antinette “Toni” Keller has been ordered by the court to undergo a mental examination. William “Billy” Curl was arrested and charged with several counts of murder last week in connection with the disappearance and discovery of burned human remains near the college campus. He had fled to Mexico in his mother’s car and then returned to the U.S. and was in Louisiana when he was arrested.

Curl was in court on Monday and appeared via video monitor from the jail where he is being held. He was formally charged with the murder of Keller. He is charged with first-degree murder, criminal sexual assault and arson and is current being held under a $5 million bond. Several of the charges against him mean he could face the death penalty if he is found mentally competent.

Public defender requested examination

It was Curl’s public defender that requested the mental examination. Exactly why is unclear and his lawyer, Regina Harris, did not explain why she felt the psychological exam was necessary. She only said that she came to the decision after talking to Curl via telephone.

The prosecutor for DeKalb County, State’s Attorney Phil Montgomery, stated that he was surprised by the request for the exam.

Keller disappeared on October 14 after telling her friends she was headed into a wooded area known as Prairie Park, near the college campus. She was not seen again. Days later burned remains that appeared to be that of a human being were found. Also found were items believed to belong to Keller. The remains were determined to be human but, so far, have yet to be positively identified as Keller’s.

Curl had been interviewed once already by authorities as he was known to hang around Prairie Park. However, he did not show up for a second interview. His mother reported the car as missing and it was located in Louisiana where Curl was looking for day labor work. Police have called the murder and assault a “crime of opportunity.”

Neighbors of Curl have spoken to the press and described him as “quiet” but stressed they did not think he was particularly strange.

Curl is next scheduled to appear in court on November 30.

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