Did Bath Salts Drive 'Drifter' to Kill?
The live-in lover of the man charged with murder in Will County claimed he was haunted by a crazed, drug-induced hallucination just before the killing.
Nine days before Michael Eberle allegedly beat a man to death after breaking into his place of work, the woman he lived with leveled accusations of drug-induced delirium in a petition to keep him out of their home.
"Michael has a history of substance abuse. Currently I believe he is abusing bath salts that are making him irrational, paranoid and delusional," wrote Karen Trajkovich in a March 16 petition for an order of protection in Kendall County Court.
Trajkovich and Eberle, who was charged Monday in Will County Court with murdering Patrick Shaughnessy, have a 14-year-old daughter together.
The night before Trajkovich sought the order of protection, she claimed he "tore apart my entire garage because he thought everything was burning. He broke or threw away or threw water on my shovels, gardening tools, books, food, my bike, skateboards, etc. ... When I asked him to stop, he got agitated and got in my face because I wouldn't believe that everything is burning."
Trajkovich told of Eberle threatening to kick in her door and strangling her if she locked him out, and said he was hospitalized for psychiatric care after the police took him away.
Trajkovich declined to further discuss Eberle or her relationship with him on Monday.
Until the March 15 episode, Eberle apparently lived together with Trajkovich in a house on Joliet's far west side in Kendall County. At his bond hearing in Will County court on Monday, when Judge Marzell Richardson asked him for his address, Eberle said, "I live here now," in the county jail.
Will County Sheriff's Department Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas called Eberle an area "drifter." According to county jail records, he was homeless at the time of his arrest.
Another woman — Eberle's ex-wife, Heather Eberle — claimed in a petition for an order of protection in Will County court that no one was hallucinating when her garage caught fire. And she blamed Eberle for burning it down.
Heather Eberle said in her July 1 petition that Michael Eberle told her she needed to "grow eyes in the back of my f---ing head" after a home she was trying to sell caught "fire and he is the #1 suspect. He has demolished the entire home" on Gael Drive.
Troy Township Fire Chief Steve Engeldow confirmed at the time of the June 28 garage fire on Gael Drive that the blaze was under investigation. No criminal charges have been filed in connection with that fire.
The Eberles' marriage was dissolved 20 days after Heather Eberle petitioned for her order, which was not granted.
Before intruding at Knauer Industries — a manufacturer of burial vaults — and killing the 69-year-old Shaughnessy, Eberle tried to break into a house in Shorewood's Saddlebrook Estates subdivision but was frightened off by a resident, police said.
He also allegedly stole a pickup truck from a Troy Township farm, police said. Eberle rammed the pickup in reverse through the closed garage door and drove away after the farm owner found him sitting in the driver's seat, officials said.
Kaupas said detectives are just as unsure of Eberle's motives in those two other incidents, for which he faces charges of burglary and theft.
Synthetic drugs marketed as bath salts were outlawed in Illinois in July. The products have been described as "fake cocaine" and reportedly can cause hallucinations and paranoia.