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The Blaze
The Blaze
16 Dec 2023


NextImg:Illinois father pleads guilty to murdering his 3 children, filicide suspect left ominous note to wife | Blaze Media

An Illinois father accused of murdering his three children in 2022 pleaded guilty to his horrific crimes on Friday.

Jason Karels, 36, entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill to three counts of first-degree murder for the killing of his three children in 2022. Karels had previously entered a not-guilty plea for the murders.

Karels reportedly drowned his children – ages 2, 3, and 5.

Karels will be sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office said.

The state’s attorney’s office said it had consulted extensively with the family of the victims before entering into the plea agreement with the filicide suspect.

"This case has devastated the Round Lake Beach community and beyond," Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a statement. "We hope that (Friday’s) resolution provides some measure of closure, and we will continue to provide support to the family."

The Round Lake Police Department issued a statement: "The Round Lake Beach Police Department would like to thank the numerous investigators from multiple jurisdictions who contributed countless hours to this investigation. We would also like to recognize Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart and his entire office, who assisted throughout the investigation and delivered a just outcome in this case."

"Our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of the victims and the rest of our community affected by this senseless tragedy. While nothing can bring these wonderful children back, we hope this outcome will give the family and loved ones some closure," the police said.

Debra Karels, the estranged mother of the three children, discovered the bodies of the children inside their Round Lake Beach home on June 13, 2022.

The Lake County Coroner’s Office later determined the cause of death to be drowning in all of the children.

The mother of the three children was in the process of gaining full custody of the kids when their father murdered them.

Police officers found an ominous note at the crime scene that read: "If I can’t have them neither can you."

Officers arrested Karels near Joliet later that evening, following a 17-minute police chase by Illinois State Troopers. The hot pursuit ended when Karel crashed his vehicle. While being arrested, Karels allegedly told police officers his role in the triple murder.

An official sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16, 2024.

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