Galesburg man killed trying to fight off suspected burglar

People who live along one Galesburg street are remembering their neighbor who fought back against a would-be car burglar.

“I just feel so bad for his family,” said Karissa Soper, who’s still in shock that her friend and neighbor is now gone.

Neighbors along Chestnut Street in Galesburg didn’t think a would-be car break-in early Sunday morning would turn into the murder of their friend and neighbor, Robert Kilgore, 23, of Galesburg.

“He was a very good kid, a kind and caring kid,” said Heather Scott, a neighbor. “He did not deserve this.”

Kai Lefler, 25, from Oneida, Illinois is the one suspected of killing Kilgore. 

Lefler was appointed a public defender at his first court appearance Tuesday, January 22, 2013.  He was held in the Knox County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond, facing murder and aggravated battery charges.

Galesburg police say Lefler’s rap sheet includes past charges of theft.

Another neighbor, Rebecca Turner, recounts the brutal attack as going from bad to worse.

“It’s just absurd to see a kid being brutally stabbed multiple times over a carjacking,” said Turner. “This guy was in it for a couple of dollars and change.”

Neighbors all agree that Kilgore was the epitome of a good neighbor who always made sure his family and others were safe.

They say he finally felt the need to fight back.

“He said there was a lot of traffic going up and down Chestnut and he was concerned.”

Scott agrees that Kilgore was acting like a protective father, trying to protect his property and that of his neighbors against a criminal who targeted the neighborhood.

“He was trying his best to keep that guy until the cops showed up here. He wanted them caught.”

Kilgore is a 2008 graduate of Galesburg High School.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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