Springfield Man Pleads Guilty In Home Invasion, Killing

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Springfield man has pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing a woman last year during a home invasion and setting fire to her home in an attempt to conceal evidence.

Ronald D. Porter, 33, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to 13 counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and residential arson in Abby Neisler's January 2020 slaying.

Porter’s plea was an open plea, not negotiated, said Sangamon County state’s attorney Dan Wright.

According to court records, Porter entered Neisler’s Springfield home while she was away and when she returned he restrained her, sexually assaulted her and stabbed her several times. He then set Neisler’s bedroom on fire to conceal the evidence.

Porter also was responsible for the death of Neisler’s companion dog, Pepper, The State Journal-Register reported.

Porter had indicated at an June 11 hearing his willingness to plead guilty, but in addressing the court Wednesday, he professed frustration at not seeing discovery in his case and with his defense attorney.

Sangamon County Chief Judge John Madonia set Porter's sentencing for Sept. 29. He faces a sentencing range of 54 to 140 years.