A Glen Ellyn man convicted in January of murdering his girlfriend and concealing the homicide faces life in prison when he is sentenced on April 2.
A DuPage County jury deliberated for about two hours on Jan. 17 before convicting Ester, 50, of the 2013 first-degree murder of his girlfriend, Linda Valez.
They also found the manner in which he killed her, stabbing her 39 times, to be brutally heinous and cold, calculated and premeditated. Each of those findings mean Ester likely faces natural life in prison.
Prosecutors told jurors Ester stabbed the 33-year-old Valez after a fight about infidelity in the relationship and left her body in a shallow grave that he dug earlier in the day in Panfish Park on the night of Sept. 24, 2013.
Valez, a mother of seven, was stabbed in the face, neck and torso. An autopsy uncovered 39 wounds, including defensive marks on her arms.
Ester eventually confessed to the murder and was arrested in Naperville several days later.
He claimed the hole he dug was for a firepit so the homeless couple would have a romantic and warm place to sleep. He said it was an intoxicated Valez who pulled the knife on him as they approached the park.
Toxicology reports, however, showed Valez had no signs of drugs or alcohol in her system at the time she was killed.
So far, prosecutors have subpoenaed two Glen Ellyn police officers to testify at the sentencing hearing, which will begin at 10 a.m. on April 2 in courtroom 4004.