Alleged killer of Lake Villa man saw him talking to his wife, police say
Matthew Hinson, left, of Jacksonville, Fla., has pleaded guilty in the stabbing death of Bears fan William Pettry, 42, right, of Lake Villa. | Jacksonville Sheriff's Dept./Facebook photos
Updated: October 8, 2012 4:19PM
A man arrested in the stabbing death of a Lake Villa Chicago Bears fan inside a Jacksonville bar Sunday is suspected of slashing William Pettry’s throat, placing the knife back in his pocket and calmly walking away.
“Independent eyewitnesses gave detailed accounts of the incident,” according to a statement posted on the Jacksonville County Seriff’s Office website. “Each described how the suspect cut the victim and calmly walked out of the establishment.”
Police have not released a motive for the slaying, but said Pettry had been speaking with the suspect’s wife.
The incident occurred shortly after midnight Sunday, inside Fionn MacCool’s, an Irish bar and restaurant.
Police arrested Matthew Hinson, 27, inside a vehicle a short while after the slaying, the sheriff’s office said.
A jail mugshot shows Hinson’s face to be bruised and bloodied. In a posting on its Facebook page, the sheriff’s office said: “The suspect got his injuries when he was arrested by police. When police made contact with him, he resisted. The injuries were not from the victim.”
Hinson was being held in the Duval County jail Monday morning on suspicion of homicide.
Pettry, 42, who apparently was in town for the Bears game against Jacksonville, was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
Pettry’s wife, Karen, wrote on her Facebook page Sunday: “I’m so numb and I still cannot believe it is true.”
The throat-slashing happened after an apparently jealous former military man saw William “Chris” Pettry talking to his wife at the bar, police said Monday.
“For some reason, he became jealous, enraged, whatever you want to call it, and approached our victim,” said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Lt. Rob Schoonover. “According to one of the eyewitnesses, he calmly and basically cold-blooded just cut the victim’s throat, and calmly walked out of the restaurant.”
Police said Hinson confessed.
They found a small pocket knife believed to be the murder weapon. “During a subsequent interview post Miranda, Hinson gives admissions to stabbing the victim, but also alleged he does not remember his reasons for doing so,” according to a police report.
Hinson was in the Duval County jail Monday.
Police said the slaying had nothing to do with Pettry being a Bears fan or any kind of football rivalry.
Bears coach Lovie Smith spoke briefly about Pettry during his Monday press conference.
“You know, one of our loyal supporters was killed as he came to Jacksonville to support his favorite team, so our prayers definitely go out to his family,” Smith said.
Quincy Asbury Jr. said his cousin was a devoted father to his three children, including a son who played football in Lake Villa. His wife of many years was too distraught to speak to anyone. Pettry’s stepfather died just a few weeks ago, Asbury said.
He’d gone to Jacksonville with his best friend to watch the football game, and the pair joined hundreds of other Bears fans at the bar.
The friend told Asbury Sunday on the telephone that he and Pettry were out on the bar’s patio when Pettry left for the restroom, then to the bar to re-up their drinks. He didn’t return.
“[The friend] told me explicitly nothing was going on,” Asbury said. “Chris wasn’t in any kind of altercation ... What could you do to a person in a 20- to 25-minute timeframe to warrant that kind of rage?”