Exclusive: Wisconsin murder suspect confesses to attack that left woman comatose

Joe Sinopoli

A Brookfield man being held for the murder of a Wisconsin Realtor has confessed to the attack and robbery of a 69-year-old La Grange Park woman who lingered in a coma for several months as a result of massive head injuries.

James A. Hole, 34, said in an interview Wednesday with La Grange Park Police Det. Fran Marrocco that he attacked Mary Elmslie, who was found lying unconscious in her Homested Apartments garage Jan. 4.

Marrocco, who identified Hole’s car by viewing a videotape taken the evening of the attack, obtained Hole’s confession in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where he is being held in the March 18 murder of 71-year-old Ann Nelson.

La Grange Park Police Chief Dan McCollum said Hole provided information unique to the case.

“Hole provided a complete statement and acknowledged his complicity in the injury of our victim Jan. 4,” McCollum said. “He gave unique details that a person who wasn’t there could not provide.”

McCollum said Hole admitted to stealing Elmslie’s purse after knocking her down to the concrete floor, which caused severe head injuries. He grabbed $300 from Elmslie’s purse and then discarded the purse, a cell phone and other items in a Dumpster in the area.

“Up until two days ago, we still did not know if this was a crime," McCollum said. "We had no physical evidence, no witnesses, a victim that could not identify a suspect or could not remember what happened.”

Elmslie, a retired school teacher and Brookfield Zoo volunteer, had just returned from the grocery store and was about to take groceries out of the trunk of her car in the early evening hours of Jan. 4 when the attack occurred. As part of the investigation, Marrocco obtained a security videotape from the store, and by viewing it frame-by-frame, identified a vehicle belonging to Hole, someone the police had contact with in the past.

Police attempted to question Hole on three occasions prior to his arrest in Wisconsin but he refused to cooperate, McCollum said.

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