Elwood man found guilty of murdering 18-month-old girl

December 18

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a jury has found an Elwood man guilty of first-degree murder for killing an 18-month-old girl.

Lee Ponshe, 29, of 503 Beattie St., faces mandatory life in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Daniel Rozak on February 25. The jury deliberated for 2-1/2 hours before arriving at a guilty verdict at the conclusion of a seven-day trial.

Evidence presented at trial showed that the victim suffered 20 bruises on the top of her head. She also had three bruises on her forehead, one on her cheek and five bruises along her back. The little girl was the daughter of Ponshe’s fiance.

Ponshe began beating the little girl in the early morning hours of April 15 because she was crying and would not sleep.  On the following day, the defendant put the victim down for a nap at around 5 p.m. The little girl, however, slipped into a coma and died as a result of her injuries.

“Lee Ponshe commited an act of monstrous violence against an innocent child who was under his care and protection,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “This heartless abuser can spend the rest of his life in a dark prison cell contemplating his horrific crime.”

Assistant State’s Attorneys Jim Long, Chris Regis and Adam Capelli presented evidence and testimony at trial that included statements Ponshe made to detectives and to his father in which he admitted striking the little girl. They also called to the stand a forensic pathologist who specializes in brain trauma to children. She testified that the victim’s injuries were consistent with having been abused.

The state’s attorney credited his prosecutors with securing this conviction, and he thanked Will County Sheriff’s Department detectives for their thorough investigation.