June 7, 2023, Peoria, IL –Today, prosecutors with the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Office were able to convict Christopher J. Sanders, 45, of First-Degree Murder in the extremely brutal and heinous beating death of his ex-girlfriend Mona R. Ellison, 50. Upon hearing the details of Ellison’s death, jurors took less than 40 minutes to find Sanders guilty.
During the trial, a forensic pathologist testified that Ellison was nearly covered from head to toe with injuries, receiving blunt-force injuries to her head, face, torso, chest, abdomen, back, and lower body. On her head alone, her nose was broken and crushed, a molar was knocked out, and her left cheek was cut through to her mouth. Sanders had attempted to stitch that wound back together. He left the needle and thread still in it.
In addition to Ellison’s head injuries, nearly all of her ribs were broken and had punctured her lungs. Internally she had a bruised liver and bowels and a laceration to her spleen. Ellison was alive through all of this and had a number of defensive wounds. All these injuries contributed to her death, but ultimately, she died at the hands of Sanders strangling her and applying so much pressure that he broke her hyoid bone.
His shocking conduct continued even after the murder. He wrapped her up in blankets and plastic, threw her in a trunk, and transported her across the river. He then dumped her bruised, bloodied, and broken body in a wooded area in East Peoria and covered her in leaves and brush.
The case is set for sentencing on August 17, 2023. Because the jury found the murder was accompanied by exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior, he is eligible for up to life in prison.
“The remaining moments of Mona Ellison’s life are nearly unspeakable. The defendant literally beat the life out of her, and my office will do everything to ensure his ends in prison.” Jodi Hoos, Peoria County State’s Attorney.