|Born||September 14, 1980|
|Criminal penalty||50 years|
|Criminal status||incarcerated at Dwight Correctional Center|
Nicole Abusharif (born September 14, 1980) is an American woman who was convicted of the 2007 Villa Park, Illinois murder of her domestic partner, Rebecca "Becky" Klein. After being found guilty of first-degree murder in May 2009, Abusharif was sentenced to 50 years in prison at the Dwight Correctional Center in Nevada Township, Illinois. The case made national news due to the intrigue of a "lesbian love triangle" murder.
Murder and investigation
On March 17, 2007, the body of Rebecca Klein was discovered in the trunk of her 1966 Ford Mustang after Klein's domestic partner of seven years, Nicole Abusharif, reported her missing. Klein was found bound with duct tape, gagged with a bandana, blindfolded, and suffocated with a plastic bag over her head. Four days later, Abusharif was charged with first-degree murder and concealing of a homicide.
Villa Park police officers believe Abusharif killed Klein on March 15, 2007, two days before her body was found. After Abusharif allegedly suffocated Klein to death, she went out with another woman, 19-year-old Rose Sodaro, whom she met on the social networking site MySpace. That night, Abusharif and Sodaro went bowling in Tinley Park, then returned to Abusharif's home where they engaged in sex. Sodaro believed that Klein was Abusharif's roommate, not her life partner.
In addition to her relationship with Sodaro, police also believe that Abusharif was motivated to kill Klein due to a $400,000 insurance payout. Forensic scientists found fingerprints on the duct tape and plastic bag belonging to Abusharif, as well as her DNA on the bandana. Prosecutors also uncovered a slew of lies Abusharif allegedly told including stating to Sodaro that she had been a New York City firefighter during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Abusharif, who was also an alcoholic, claimed to have liver cancer and told Sodaro that her alcoholism would lead to her death. Abusharif also brought Sodaro to a funeral home, where she dramatically selected her own casket.
During the police's investigation into the murder of Klein, Abusharif's co-worker at a Des Plaines security company, Robert L. Edwards, was charged with five counts of obstructing justice for allegedly lying about his whereabouts when Klein was believed to have been murdered. Police focused on Edwards during their initial investigation because he was at Abusharif and Klein's residence on March 16, 2007 during the search for Klein. He later admitted to police that he and Abusharif were "drug buddies who shared wild sex fantasies". Initially Edwards was on a $1 million bail which was later reduced to $500,000.
After being indicted on first-degree murder charges, Abusharif was held at the DuPage County Jail on $3 million bond, later lowered to $1 million. After bonding out of jail, Abusharif was put on home confinement in her Oak Lawn apartment. However, on April 25, 2008, Abusharif violated her bail by leaving her apartment to visit a family member's home next door.
Although Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Ruggiero applied to have Abusharif's bail revoked, her bail was only increased by $100,000. She returned to county jail, but was back out on bail before her trial began.
In November 2008, Robert L. Edwards went to trial on charges of obstructing justice. Villa Park police still believed he was not involved in Becky Klein's murder, but he was convicted of the obstruction charges and sentenced to 75 days at the DuPage County, Illinois work camp.
Nicole Abusharif's jury trial commenced on April 20, 2009. Though Robert Edwards did not testify for the prosecution, Rose Sodaro did, as well as many members of Klein's family. Abusharif also testified in her own defense. When confronted with the evidence against her, she admitted lying during the police investigation. The defense hinged on whether Abusharif would have been physically able to kill Klein. Abusharif's defense attorneys, Bob Parchem and Dennis Sopata, maintained that Abusharif had a bad back, and would not have been able to subdue Klein, who weighed 40 pounds more than her. While Abusharif's attorneys were skeptical of gaining an acquittal, they were able to prove that Klein's murder was not "cold, calculated and premeditated", as the prosecution requested. That eliminated the possibility for a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Verdict and aftermath
On May 5, 2009, Abusharif was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Becky Klein after thirteen hours of jury deliberation. She faced up to 60 years in prison, but Judge John Kinsella sentenced Abusharif to 50 years incarceration. She will have to serve 100 percent of her sentence before being eligible for parole, at the age of 76.
- "DuPage County IL Official Website - Nicole Abusharif Sentenced to Fifty Years for Murder of Rebecca Klein". Dupageco.org. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Appeal Court Order" (PDF). State.il.us. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Materville Studios - Host of Windy City Times. "Murder in Villa Park: Love and lies - 5041 - Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News - Windy City Times". Windycitymediagroup.com. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Daily Herald | Woman denies killing lover in Villa Park murder". Prev.dailyherald.com. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- Materville Studios - Host of Windy City Times. "Murder in Villa Park: Love and lies - 5042 - Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News - Windy City Times". Windycitymediagroup.com. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Daily Herald | Jurors see police video". Prev.dailyherald.com. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Bail halved for man tied to Villa Park case - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Former Villa Park woman accused of roommate's murder ordered held in DuPage jail - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Woman's bail increased in Villa Park slaying - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. 2008-05-08. Retrieved 2012-08-18.