SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - A murder suspect has admitted to stabbing a woman and setting her home on fire in January 2020.
Ronald D. Porter, 33, entered an open plea to 13 total charges. Counts included first-degree murder, aggravated stalking, aggravated criminal sexual assault, residential arson, concealing a homicidal death, home invasion, armed robbery, obstruction of justice, aggravated cruelty to an animal, unlawful use of a credit card and stalking of a minor.
A court record said Porter had entered the home of 24-year-old Abby Neisler, located in the 700 block of S. State St., when she was gone during the late hours of Jan. 10 into Jan. 11, 2020, and sexually assaulted her when she came back. He had restrained her and stabbed her several times, then set the bedroom on fire to conceal evidence. Neisler's companion dog, Pepper, was also killed.
Neisler was found dead in the home as authorities investigated.
Porter faces 54 to 150 years in prison for the crime. He must serve all of the time for first-degree murder, 85 percent for home invasion, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated robbery, and 50 percent for concealment of a homicidal death.
Porter will be sentenced on Sept. 29, 2021.
Investigators said Porter and his wife, Whitney M. Porter, were charged with residential arson, arson, insurance fraud and obstructing justice for allegedly setting their joint apartment on fire in October 2019 in an attempt to collect more than $10,000 from a fraudulent insurance claim. Ronald Porter was also accused of entering the residence of a different woman while masked in October 2019 and trying to sexually assault her.
He was also a suspect in a series of aggravated robberies committed in January and February of 2020.