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Prosecutor Wants Keller's Remains Released to 'Suffering' Family

Judge may rule next week on the state's request as well as on a motion to do DNA testing on some evidence samples.

The DeKalb County state's attorney petitioned a judge Wednesday to release the remains of Antinette "Toni" Keller so her Plainfield family can hold a memorial service.

Keller, an 18-year-old Northern Illinois University freshman, is believed to have been killed by 34-year-old DeKalb resident William P. Curl, who's been charged with murder, criminal sexual assault, arson and concealing a homicidal death.

Police believe Keller was killed shortly after her disappearance on Oct. 14, 2010, but police were not able to positively identify the woman until January because her remains -- discovered in a park near the NIU campus on Oct. 16 -- were so badly burned.

State's Attorney Clay Campbell told the DeKalb Daily Chronicle he filed a motion to have some of Keller's remains released from the coroner's office and has asked Circuit Judge Robbin Stuckert to set a hearing date as soon as possible.

"I think it's safe to say the family is suffering," Campbell told the paper after the hearing. "... It is the opinion of the state that these remains can be released to the family without compromising Mr. Curl's right to a fair trial."

Public Defender Regina Harris, who is representing Curl, said she wants the remains to be examined by her forensic anthropologist.

"I have to know what I agree to release doesn't have evidentiary significance for any potential trial," she told the paper after the hearing.

A report done by a forensic anthropologist for the prosecution was provided to Harris on Wednesday.

Prosecutors also want to do DNA tests on some pieces of evidence, and Campbell notified Harris that using the entire sample may be necessary, the newspaper said. The samples include at least one item of clothing and an item from Curl's bathroom, Harris said.

Harris has requested that her expert be present when those tests are done. Because she needs to find out when her expert might be available, the hearing was postponed until Monday.

Stuckert is also expected to set a date for the hearing on the remains on that day as well, the paper said.

Curl was present at Wednesday's hearing via closed circuit television from the DeKalb County Jail and said, "Good afternoon, your honor," when greeted by the judge. He has been in police custody since Oct. 29, being held on more than $5 million bond.

Curl's family was present at the hearing as was Roger Keller, Antinette Keller's father. 

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