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State Expected to Dismiss Murder-Solicitation Charge in Anniversary Case

July 21, 1988

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) _ A judge dismissed a murder-solicitation charge Thursday against a woman who was accused of hiring a gunman to kill her husband, after the woman’s daughter refused to testify against her.

The story of the woman’s arrest was published in the local paper the same day as her happy anniversary message to her husband, who did not believe the charges against his wife and posted her bail.

″I think my client is very pleased that this is over,″ Mary Borunda’s attorney said after Will County Circuit Judge Bruce Falk approved a prosecution motion to drop the charge.

″It’s one of the most fascinating cases I’ve had in 22 years as a criminal lawyer,″ said attorney Winston Block.

Prosecutors submitted a motion for dismissal after Ms. Borunda’s daughter - the key witness in the case - refused to testify, said Assistant State’s Attorney Douglas DeBoer.

The case began when the daughter went to police with information that led to the charge against Ms. Borunda, DeBoer said earlier Thursday.

Block said the case also was dropped because of further investigation by prosecutors and police, and said he was ″absolutely″ convinced of his client’s innocence.

″There were numerous allegations. ... Further investigation has proven many of them - as well as the case - not to be founded,″ said Block, who added that the daughter is identified in the state’s written motion as Janet Taylor.

A preliminary hearing had been scheduled Thursday.

The anniversary message to Joe Borunda from his wife, 44, was ″a happy ad ... a sign of their love for each other,″ said Block.

″Happy fourth anniversary 6-29-88 to my wonderful husband Joe Borunda,″ read the ad in the Herald-News of Joliet. ″I’ll love you always. Your wife Mary.″

Neither appeared in court Thursday, Block said.

″They appear to be a very happy couple,″ he said. ″I’m sure they’re extremely relieved that it’s over.″

Ms. Borunda was arrested June 25, accused of paying a gunman $1,000 and promising an additional $1,500 after her fifth husband had been killed during a staged break-in, Police Detective Dan Hulbert said on June 30.

Borunda, 59, told police he had several life insurance policies worth well over $100,000, Hulbert said.

Borunda, who earlier posted $1,000 bond to secure his wife’s release, does not believe she intended him any harm, Block said.

Block said he could not speculate about the basis for the daughter’s accusation.

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