Teen charged with burning victim’s body will be tried as an adult

STERLING, Illinois- A 16-year-old girl charged with helping to cover up a murder will be tried as an adult.

Whiteside County Circuit Court Judge Trish Joyce ruled that Rachel Helm's case will be transferred from juvenile court to adult court.

Helm is charged with arson and concealment of a homicidal death.

53-year-old Peggy Schroeder was killed on July 6, 2017 in her home in Morrison.

Schroeder's daughter Anna is accused of shooting her mother in the head when she returned home from work.

Helm told police in an hour-long video that she helped Schroeder clean up blood in the house, and set two fires to try to cover up the crime.

"Cleaning up the blood was an attempt to conceal. You slept in the Schroeder home with Mrs. Schroeder's body in the next room," Judge Joyce said in the courtroom during her ruling on Thursday.

"I can't get past the fact there was defilement of Mrs. Schroeder's deceased body. You had several opportunities to make a phone call. You could have run away," said the judge, calling the attempted concealment "callous, disrespectful, and disgusting".

As a juvenile, Helm could have faced being detained in a juvenile facility up to the time she turned 21, if she is convicted.

As an adult, she faces up to 5 years for concealment and up to 7 years for the arson, if she is convicted.

Right now, Helm is still being held in the Mary Davis juvenile detention facility in Galesburg.

A preliminary hearing has been set for April 16th in Sterling.