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Local

Morrison murder case: Hearing set on motion to try accused accomplice as an adult

Editor’s note: Although it is not illegal to do so, in general, it is the policy of Sauk Valley Media not to report the names of juvenile defendants. In this case, however, SVM is publishing their names because of the severity of the crimes.

STERLING – Whether to try a now-16-year-old Rock Falls girl as an adult for her role in the death of a Morrison woman police say was shot by her daughter will be argued April 3.

Now that the report from Whiteside County Court Services is in, Judge Trish Joyce on Tuesday set a hearing on the state’s motion to transfer Rachel Helm from juvenile to adult court.

In juvenile court, such motions, reports and other documents are not made public; all that is public is what is reported in open court.

Rachel, who turned 16 earlier this month, is charged with arson and concealment of a homicidal death, accused of helping her girlfriend, Anna Schroeder, 15, of Morrison, try to hide evidence of her crime.

Anna is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as well as concealment of homicidal death and arson, in the July 6 shooting of her mother, Peggy Schroeder, 53.

Investigators say the girls spent a day trying to clean up the blood, and when that failed, set the house on fire with Schroeder’s body inside.

A status hearing to make sure everything’s on track in Rachel’s case was set for March 13, which also is the same day of Anna’s next pretrial hearing. The April 3 motions hearing is expected to take about 3 hours.

Whiteside County State’s Attorney Terry Costello also filed a motion to try Anna as an adult; her report still is being compiled and a date to hear those arguments has not yet been set.

According to investigators:

Anna shot her mother in the head at their home at 805 W. Park St. the afternoon of July 6, which was 3 days after she turned 15.

She texted Rachel and sent her a photo of what she’d done, then Rachel got a ride to Morrison and the girls spent the next day trying to clean up the blood. The morning of July 8, Rachel set fire to a bed sheet covering Peggy’s body and to sheets in Anna’s room in an attempt to conceal the crime.

Anna then went to her father’s home in Walnut, and Rachel went back to her home in Rock Falls, where, overcome with guilt, she told her mother, Lois Holland, what they had done. Holland drove her to the Sheriff’s Department around 8 p.m., and Rachel told investigators everything that happened and where Anna could be found.

Anna was picked up at her dad’s house and taken to the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department, where she broke down during questioning and confessed, investigators said.

If convicted as a minor, Anna could be imprisoned until she is 21. If the case is transferred to adult court, she would face 6 to 30 years, or more.

Concealment of homicidal death carries 2 to 5 years, and arson 3 to 7 years.

Both teens are being held at Mary Davis Detention Home in Galesburg.

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