That is how the murder of Northern Illinois art student, Antinete “Toni” Keller was described.
The 18-year-old Plainfield freshman was last seen Oct. 14 when she left her residence hall to work on some art in a wooded area near campus.
That’s when Dekalb police believe Curl, who was a frequent visitor to the park, attacked Keller, calling it a “crime of opportunity.”
Was she just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Was there anything she might have done that would have changed the outcome?
We might get an idea of how something like this can happen by reading the testimony of Halle Shilling. She was a prosecution witness in the trial of Ingmar Guandique, who stands accused of murdering Chandra Levy.
“He was creepy. He was just watching me,” Shilling said on the witness stand, at times breaking down in tears.
She realized she was alone on the trail and picked up a stick, but then discarded it thinking she was being paranoid. A few minutes later he was running behind her and getting closer. She was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground. She saw a knife and started to scream “no.” She quickly realized she was in a remote part of the park and that no one could hear her.
She struggled with him. He had his hands on her throat and her shoulders. Shilling then remembered her self-defense training. Aim for her attacker’s soft parts – the eyes, the nose, the mouth.
Guandique was on top of her. She shoved her hand deep in his mouth and squeezed. He bit down on her finger until it bled then he got up and ran away.
Shilling did several things right.
1) She was paying attention to the people around her. She saw Guandique staring at her in a way that made her feel uncomfortable and heightened her level of awareness.
2) She grabbed a stick to use as a weapon.
3) She screamed.
4) She fought back.
In hindsight what else might she have done or done differently?
1) After noticing the way he was looking at her she wouldn’t have continued her run towards an unpopulated area.
2) She might have listened to her intuition and not thrown the stick away. She could have used it to jab at his face.
3) After seeing him running behind her she should not have turned her back on him.
4) She shouldn’t have stopped screaming while fighting to free herself. There is always a chance someone will hear you.
5) Sticking her hand in his mouth worked, but sticking your fingers in their eyes seems more effective.
If you want to walk or run in remote areas take a small pepper/mace spray canister with you, and don’t wear headphones or ear buds. Enjoy the scenery and follow your instincts.