Terry Abbas pleads guilty to killing Chyenne Kircher - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Terry Abbas pleads guilty to killing Chyenne Kircher

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On Thursday afternoon, the East Dubuque, Ill. man accused of murdering his stepdaughter pleaded guilty.

Terry Abbas, 41, faced six charges related to the death of his stepdaughter, East Dubuque, Ill. teenager Chyenne Kircher.

Kircher went missing two years ago as a 14-year-old. Originally thought to be a runaway, a reinvigorated investigation this year led officials last month to her remains in the backyard of the East Dubuque home she shared with her mother and Abbas.

Abbas faced three counts of first degree murder along with two counts of sexual abuse and one count of concealment of homicidal death.

Abbas, who chose to represent himself on Thursday, wiped tears from his eyes as he took responsibility for everything.

"I did the crime, and it was an awful thing, your honor," Abbas said.

Some of Kircher's family members attended the hearing. Her great uncle Chuck Jones said he hopes Abbas spends the rest of his life behind bars.

"He did admit what he did was wrong," Jones said about Abbas. "Hopefully, he will be in prison for the rest of his life. He probably deserves even more, but that's what the court is going to allow and the state is going to allow, so hopefully that will happen."

In the Jo Daviess County, Ill. Courthouse Thursday, the judge asked Abbas multiple times if he wanted an attorney. Abbas affirmed he wanted to represent himself.

In court, state's attorney John Hay read an account of the investigation that revealed many previously-undisclosed details. Hay said Abbas met with police on Sept. 4 and Sept. 18 and eventually admitted to an FBI agent that he killed Kircher and buried her in a wooded area behind his home.

Hay also said Abbas admitted he dug a hole the day before Kircher's death - the one in which he buried the teen.

The state's attorney also said the supposed runaway note authorities found after Kircher's disappearance was written by Kircher as a "prank." He said Abbas saved that note and used it to encourage investigators to pursue the runaway theory.

"It was shocking to hear," Jones said. "It is very shocking. That is all I can say about that."

Abbas faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.

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A surprise plea came today during the status hearing from the man accused in the death of an East Dubuque teenager.

Terry Abbas pleaded guilty in Jo Daviess County, Ill., to all charges faced against him in the death of his stepdaughter, Chyenne Kircher.

Those charges are:

  • one count of murder with intent to kill or injure; 
  • two counts of murder with strong probability of killing or injuring; 
  • two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse with a victim older than 5 years old; and 
  • one count of concealing a homicidal death

Abbas' sentencing date will be Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.

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