Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Charges filed in Rockford woman’s beating death

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – A Rockford man has been jailed after a woman was found beaten to death on the city’s near-east side earlier this month.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced Thursday that Frederick Devon Thomas, 33, is charged with nine counts of first-degree murder in the death of 36-year-old Jennifer Lewis, of Rockford.

Police located Lewis’ body just after 8 a. m., Tuesday, Sept. 11, inside an apartment in the 900 block of 10th Avenue. An autopsy revealed she died as the result of blunt force trauma.

Detectives conducted a follow-up investigation and developed Thomas as the suspect. The investigation was later reviewed by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office and charges were authorized.

First-degree murder is a Class M felony, punishable by 20-60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections followed by three years of parole. The defendant is eligible for an extended term of 60-100 years, the state’s attorney’s office said in a release.

Thomas is currently being held in the Winnebago County Jail on $1 million bond. He is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, in Courtroom B of the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center. R.

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