Tentative plea deal in murder of NIU freshman - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Tentative plea deal in murder of NIU freshman

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SYCAMORE, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A DeKalb man charged with murdering Northern Illinois University freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller has reached a tentative agreement to plead guilty in return for a 37-year prison sentence.

DeKalb County prosecutors Tuesday announced the plea deal with William Curl, who was scheduled to stand trial next week for Keller's slaying.

The 36-year-old Curl is expected to formally accept the plea at a hearing Wednesday, DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack said in a statement.

Keller, 18, vanished on Oct. 14, 2010 after telling friends she was going to Prairie Park near the university campus. The burnt remains of the Plainfield's woman body were found two days later -- though it took authorities using DNA tests several months to confirm the remains were hers.

Curl had faced a 20- to 60-year prison term if he had been convicted of killing Keller.

Earlier Tuesday, a Keller family spokeswoman had expressed opposition to discussions of a plea deal with Curl.

"If it's anything short of life, [Antinette's parents] are very upset that this person may walk free in his lifetime," family spokeswoman Mary Tarling said.

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