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Illinois mass stabbing suspect ordered to be held in prison over four murders

Christian Soto, 22, is accused of killing a 15-year-old girl and a veteran mailman in Rockford, Illinois

Dan Gooding
Tuesday 02 April 2024 18:00 BST
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A man who told investigators that ‘laced’ marijuana caused him to go on the rampage around his Illinois neighbourhood, killing four and injuring seven, will be held in prison ahead of his trial.

Christian Soto, 22, appeared in court facing multiple counts of murder and attempted murder, as well as home invasion, after the attacks across different homes in Rockford last Wednesday.

Among the victims were a 15-year-old girl, a veteran mailman and the suspect’s friend and his mother.

Mr Soto’s brief hearing on Tuesday at the Winnebago County Courthouse was to determine whether he could ask to be released pending his trial. That was denied.

Christian Soto, 22, is facing multiple murder and attempted murder charges (Rockford Police)

Mr Soto told investigators on Wednesday that he was smoking weed with his friend Jacob Schupbach at an address on Holmes Street that afternoon, and that he became paranoid because it was laced with some kind of narcotic.

The suspect reportedly then picked up a knife from the kitchen and stabbed Mr Schupbach, along with his mother Ramona Schupbach, 63, to death.

After that, Mr Soto is accused of attacking mail carrier Jay Larson, 49, with a knife and his pickup truck in the front yard of a home on nearby Winnetka Drive.

Mr Larson later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

Following this, Mr Soto allegedly broke into a house on Cleveland Avenue where three teenage girls were.

The suspect reportedly beat each of them with a softball bat, with 15-year-old Jenna Newcomb dying from her injuries.

Her mother said she had passed saving her sister and friend from further harm.

Community members gather at a vigil to remember victims of a recent deadly stabbing attack on March 28, 2024 in Rockford, Illinois. (Getty Images)

After reportedly telling the girls he was going to get a gun, Mr Soto then allegedly broke into another home on the same street, where he stabbed a mother in the face and attacked her adult children.

All three survived, with the mother putting that down to their family dog biting Mr Soto and her son defending himself with a syrup bottle.

Mr Soto is then accused of breaking into another home, this time at the intersection of Florence Street and Eggleston Road.

The woman in that home fled, with Mr Soto allegedly stabbing her in the street before a “Good Samaritan” stopped his car to help and he was also attacked.

This is when police arrived and arrested the suspect.

As Illinois has no cash bail system, after it was abolished in September 2023, offenders must appear before a judge to determine if they can be released without bond.

That is supposed to happen within 48 hours of arrest, but Mr Soto’s attorneys had asked the judge for more time on Thursday.

Mr Soto will continue to be held in the Winnebago County Jail and he is next due in court on 15 April for arraignment.

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