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Accused murderer wants better jail food

Ronald Stolberg   | Special Sun-Times Media

Ronald Stolberg | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 28, 2011 10:37AM

A Vernon Hills man accused of murdering his wife during a domestic dispute wants healthier meals in jail.

Ronald Stolberg, 47, appeared Monday before Lake County Circuit Court Associate Judge Raymond Collins for status of preliminary hearing.

Defense attorney William Hedrick filed his appearance and asked the judge to allow Stolberg to have “healthy food and more milk” brought to him at Lake County Jail. Stolberg is a vegetarian, Hedrick said.

“There is no food,” Stolberg said before Hedrick halted his comments to the judge.

Collins denied the request, saying, “He’s just going to have to eat what they have.”

Stolberg is accused of murdering his 54-year-old wife during. He is alleged to have suffocated his wife, Rachel Stolberg, for disturbing his sleep.

Stolberg can ask for vegetarian meals by making a request to Chief of Corrections Jennifer Witherspoon, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Christopher Thompson.

“We have milk and we have vegetables here,” Witherspoon told The News-Sun. “All of our meals are nutritionally balanced.”

Witherspoon said the jail does not allow outside food products in the facility. She also said the jail’s meals exceed the 2,000-calorie count that prison inmates at Illinois Department of Corrections facilities receive.

She also said that inmates at Lake County Jail can order supplementary meal items, such as Ding Dongs, through their commissary fund.

“A lot of people don’t realize we have people here from different walks of life and different medical needs, like diabetes,” Witherspoon said. “We cannot season food the way that have it at home.

“What happens is they say food isn’t good, and maybe they’re used to a lot of seasonings,” she added, “but it’s well cooked and planned out by our contractor. We give them what they need.”

Hedrick said he intended to repeat the request after a judge has been assigned to the case following Stolber’s arraignment. Stolberg is expected to be indicted Wednesday by a grand jury and be arraigned at a later date.

Stolberg was wearing a red shirt in court when he complained about the jail’s food, which means he was assigned to the Administrative Segregation Unit, according to Thompson.

On June 19, Stolberg was flooding his cell with water from the toilet, Thompson said. When he was told to stop and clean it up, he refused. He was then put on lockdown, which upset him more, Thompson said.

Stolberg began banging and kicking his cell door, which resulted in him being sent to the segregation unit for his infractions, Thompson said.

Stolberg remains in custody in lieu of $3 million bond.

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