The Madison County State’s Attorney says Monday’s guilty plea in a murder and dismemberment case may have been a death penalty case, had that option still been on the table. Illinois abolished the death penalty three years ago. 29-year-old Patrick A. Chase admitted Monday to killing 30-year-old Courtney C. Coats last November and dismembering her body before disposing of it.
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons says Chase will serve 45 years in prison for the murder and at least 50% of a 20-year sentence for the dismemberment, and the sentences will run consecutively.
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Coats was Chase’s girlfriend and the two shared an apartment in Upper Alton. Investigators say Chase and 30-year-old Brandon L. Chittum of Collinsville – who was allegedly present during the murder – dismembered Coats’ body and dumped it in the Illinois River, where it was found near the Joe Page Bridge that leads into Hardin. Chittum’s case is still pending, charged with the same crimes as Chase.