The drifter caught hiding in the weeds near the grisly scene of a beating death at a funeral service business has been charged with murder.
Michael Eberle, 42, was taken into custody Sunday morning and questioned throughout the day in connection with the bludgeoning death of Patrick Shaughnessy, 69, of Joliet.
Shaughnessy was a long-time employee of and he was at the funeral business on the northeast frontage road of Interstate 55 when he came upon Eberle about 9 a.m., police said.
Eberle viciously beat Shaughnessy and then scuffled with another employee who was just showing up to work, police said. Numerous motorists driving by on I-55 noticed Eberle and the second worker fighting and alerted police, said Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas of the Will County Sheriff's Department.
Police arrived and an ambulance was sent to the business but Shaughnessy died before it got there.
Eberle fled and hid in the nearby weeds, Kaupas said. He was apprehended a short time later.
Prior to killing Shaughnessy, police said, Eberle tried to break into a house in Saddlebrook Estates subdivision but was frightened off by a resident, police said. He also allegedly stole a pickup truck from a Troy farm.
Knauer Industries is a funeral solutions and supply company that specializes in Wilbert burial vaults, Wilbert cremation urns, Trigard burial vaults and more. The company also offers burial vault personalization and cremation mementos.
Kaupas has described Eberle as a drifter. According to court records, Eberle's wife filed to divorce him in April and dissolved the marriage in July. She also sought a court order to prevent him from contacting her in July but failed to obtain it.
Eberle remains in custody at the Will County jail. He will be formally charged with murder when he appears in court this afternoon, said Charles B. Pelkie, the spokesman for the state's attorney's office.