Palatine man arrested and charged with murder in September 2022 death of Rochelle woman

On Tuesday, a Palatine man was arrested and charged with four counts of first degree murder stemming from the September 2022 death of a Rochelle woman.

Freeman faces 4 counts of 1st degree murder in death of Devin Gibbons

ROCHELLE — On Tuesday, a Palatine man was arrested and charged with four counts of first degree murder stemming from the September 2022 death of a Rochelle woman. 

On Sept. 18, 2022 at 10:46 a.m. Rochelle Fire and Police Departments were dispatched to an apartment located at 503 7th Ave. for smoke in a residence. Upon entry into the residence, fire personnel located a deceased female. The fire was deemed suspicious, and additional investigators arrived on scene.  

The victim was identified as Devin K. Gibbons, 28, of Rochelle. During the course of the investigation, Gary C. Freeman, 27, of Palatine was developed as a suspect. On Tuesday, Freeman was arrested in Schaumburg and transported to the Ogle County Jail and charged with four counts of first degree murder, one count of residential arson and one count of concealment of a homicidal death. A grand jury indicted Freeman Tuesday.  

Freeman is currently in the Ogle County Jail on a $10 million bond. He appeared in Ogle County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon for the first time. 

A press conference was held Wednesday morning in Rochelle by Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock and RPD Chief Eric Higby. Rock detailed the charges against Freeman and reminded the public that they are merely allegations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Freeman faces three counts of first degree murder (class M felony) punishable by 20-60 years in prison. Truth in sentencing applies to those charges, meaning any sentence he receives within that range will be served for the full term. He’s also charged with one count of first degree murder in a cold and calculated fashion, which is also a class M felony and makes the defendant, if found guilty, eligible for natural life sentencing. 

The residential arson charge is a class one felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison and the concealment of a homicidal death charge is a class three felony punishable by 2-5 years in prison. 

“On behalf of my office, I can't thank law enforcement enough for the amount of work that they put into this case, particularly the Rochelle Police Department,” Rock said. “It was hundreds of hours and a number of law enforcement agencies came together on this. We're very hopeful that we're going to be able to bring justice for Devin Gibbons' family at the conclusion of this case."

Rock said Wednesday that Gibbons and Freeman knew each other and declined to elaborate any further. Gibbons did have children, but officials declined to say Wednesday whether Freeman was the father. Rock did say law enforcement was aware of “pending legal matters in family court” that helped inform their investigation. 

Law enforcement and the state’s attorney’s office do know where the children are at this point, Rock said. He declined to talk about any potential witnesses to the alleged crime when speaking Wednesday. RPD is not aware of Freeman living in Rochelle at any time in the past. 

“I believe the facts are going to indicate that there was some type of relationship between them and violence was the end result,” Rock said. 

Rock said the cause of Gibbons’ death will come out during the course of the court proceedings and officials believe she was already deceased before the fire. Higby declined to discuss the cause of the fire and said that will be revealed in court proceedings as well. 

RPD narrowed its investigative search to Freeman “within a short amount of time,” Rock said.

“One of the counts alleges that this was done in a cold and calculated way,” Rock said. "We believe there was premeditation and a plan involved when he came to Rochelle.” 

The Ogle County Sheriff's Office, Illinois State Police, State Fire Marshal’s Office, The Red Cross, Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigators, Ogle County Coroner’s Office, Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District, Federal Bureau of Investigation (Rockford and Chicago Offices), Schaumburg Police Department, Palatine Police Department, Sterling Police Department and Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center assisted with the investigation.  

Rock said he believes that due to the nature of the case, the investigation was brought to “about as swift a conclusion as it could have been.”

"Good, old-fashioned police work led us to today,” Rock said. “A number of interviews and speaking to a number of people, collecting a lot of evidence and having that all analyzed, all this was work done by law enforcement. We had meetings while the investigation was ongoing and we worked together as a team and that's how the charges came about. It was hundreds of hours put in on this case."

Higby thanked all of the law enforcement agencies that assisted with the case, along with his own officers and detectives. 

“Fortunately in Rochelle, we do not have many crimes of this magnitude,” Higby said. “When they do happen, it can be a burden on a smaller agency. We're immensely appreciative of all of the law enforcement and other entities that came together to help us bring this case to a resolution. I'd like to specifically point out Deputy Chief Terry Inman, Det. Sgt. John Kaltenbach and Det. Elvis Baneski. Without their work, this does not come to fruition. They put in a lot of hard work on a difficult case and I want to publicly thank them for all of the hours they've spent on it.”