An Illinois man has been charged with murder after shooting his girlfriend in the back of the head and then admitting to her murder during a call with his son, authorities allege.
John H. Breseman, a 50-year-old Barrington resident, appeared in court on Sunday and was ordered held without bail, the Daily Herald reports. Breseman has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the Jan. 1 shooting of 54-year-old Christina Czuj, according to the paper.
Breseman is alleged to have shot Czuj multiple times early on New Year’s Day while the two were in his car and driving on an exit ramp on Interstate 90, Illinois State Police said in a news release obtained by Oxygen.com. Breseman called 911 to report having shot Czuj; upon their arrival, authorities arrested Breseman on the scene without incident. Czuj, however, was pronounced dead 15 minutes after police got there, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
During Sunday’s hearing, prosecutors said that Breseman admitted to killing Czuj in a phone call to his adult son, during which he claimed that Czuj had attacked him and that he’d shot her in an act of self-defense, the Daily Herald reports. However, police did not observe any physical evidence of Breseman having been assaulted at the time of his arrest; he is also alleged to have admitted to Czuj’s murder while speaking with police.
"Self-defense or not, I [messed] up," Breseman allegedly said, according to prosecutors. "I killed the woman I loved."
Prosecutors also said that Breseman told his son that, in addition to hitting him, Czuj had urinated in his truck, but authorities did not find any urine in the car upon their arrival to the scene, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Breseman and Czuj had been in a relationship for two years prior to her death, according to the Tribune. Breseman cheated on his previous girlfriend with Czuj, but after allegedly shooting Czuj, one of the calls he placed was to his ex-girlfriend and he allegedly told her, “I killed Christina.” The unnamed ex instructed Breseman to call the police, just as his son had; Breseman is alleged to have done so, and authorities say that he confessed to the shooting in his call to emergency services.
At the time of the shooting, Czuj and Breseman had been experiencing turmoil in their relationship, according to prosecutors. Days before the shooting, Breseman, in an email to Czuj, had expressed dissatisfaction that she wasn’t planning to spend New Year’s Eve with him, and allegedly wrote in a separate message, "Maybe I'm just a jealous fool that loves you very much.”
In another message, Czuj told Breseman not to call her again, according to the Daily Herald.
During Sunday’s hearing, an attorney argued that Breseman, the owner of a carpentry business, should be granted bail, and pointed to Breseman’s decision to not only report what he’d done to the police, but to remain on the scene until their arrival, according to the Tribune. However, although the judge referred to the case as a “head-shaker and a head-scratcher,” he still denied bail for Breseman, the outlet reports.
Meanwhile, Czuj’s loved ones are remembering her as someone who was kind and who cared deeply for animals.
“She meant everything to me, considering I have lost my biological mother and father,” Czuj’s stepdaughter, Jenni Prochaska, told the Daily Herald. “So she was my mother and was absolutely great with her granddaughter.”
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