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Orland Park man gets 40 years for stabbing ex-wife

‘Defendant showed no remorse,’ assistant state’s attorney says

OREGON – An Orland Park man who stabbed his ex-wife four times in a Rochelle park more than 3 years ago was sentenced Wednesday to two consecutive 20-year prison terms, one for attempted murder and one for armed violence.

Jamil Saleh, 42, showed no reaction when Ogle County Judge Mike Mallon read the sentences. His sister, one of four family members on hand, wept quietly.

“I am pleased with the sentence that the court imposed,” assistant state’s attorney Mike Rock said. “It’s an appropriate sentence for the crime that was committed and the fact that the defendant showed no remorse.”

On Oct. 16, an Ogle County jury found Saleh guilty of attempted murder and seven other felonies, including armed violence, aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and aggravated battery in a public place.

Saleh’s ex-wife Maha Bergeron, 37, testified that Saleh stabbed her four times during a meeting with her and their three children at Cooper Park in Rochelle on Aug. 13, 2009. She had married Jason Bergeron, a Rochelle police officer, the month before. Several witnesses, including her husband, witnessed the attack and testified at the trial.

At Wednesday’s sentencing, Rock said Saleh had shown a “complete lack of remorse” for the attack and was not a good candidate for rehabilitation.

“He still feels he did nothing wrong,” said Rock, who asked for 30 years each on the two charges.

Saleh’s attorney, public defender Dennis Riley, asked for the minimum 16-year sentence, arguing that Saleh was upset and clinically depressed over the divorce.

“This was a unique circumstance and not a circumstance that was likely to reoccur,” Riley said. “He had never behaved like this before.”

Saleh read a 7-minute statement, reiterating his trial testimony that he was visiting Palestine when Maha unexpectedly divorced him and that he was “heartbroken” over losing custody of his children.

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