Eddie Mentgen, 38, entered a guilty plea this morning in Bureau County Court.
Eddie Mentgen, 38, entered a guilty plea this morning in Bureau County Court.

PRINCETON — The suspect in the killing of a Spring Valley woman pleaded guilty this morning to first-degree murder and will spend 35 years in prison.

In a surprise plea, Eddie L. Mengten Jr., 38, admitted killing then-girlfriend Marissa Roberts in her Spring Valley apartment in April 2019. The base range for murder is 20-60 years in prison with no early release.

The plea was unexpected, insofar as Mentgen’s hearing today was in preparation for a bench trial before Judge C.J. Hollerich scheduled after Presidents’ Day and expected to spill into the following week.

Mentgen’s projected parole date is late winter 2055, when he would be about 73 years old, depending on how the Illinois Department of Corrections computes his time served.

Mentgen had been held in Dixon Correctional Center since the filing of his murder charge, but he also was completing an 11-year sentence for a La Salle County drug conviction. He likely will be returned to prison by midweek, at which time the DOC will update his records and post a new release date online.

This story will be updated.

Kim Shute can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or kshute@shawmedia.com Follow her on Twitter at NT_Princeton2.

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