Rockford stabbing suspect hurls insults at judge victims' families during court appearance


A Winnebago County judge cleared the courtroom Tuesday after the man accused of going on a killing spree in Rockford last week and members of the gallery started shouting during his detention hearing.

“You’re a puppet,” defendant Christian Ivan Soto yelled at Judge Scott Paccagnini during the proceedings.

A members of Soto’s family shouted for him to stop, which prompted the 22-year-old to continue his verbal rant.

“You’re all serpents,” Soto interrupted as his new defense attorney Glenn Jazwiec explained to Paccagnini that he does not object to the state’s petition for pre-trail detention.

Some victims’ families joined the exchange, firing back at Soto, who yelled, “Only God can judge me,” and “You’re all puppets.”

Christian Soto, 22, of Rockford, was arrested Wednesday, March 27, 2024, after four people were killed and seven injured in an attack in a Rockford neighborhood.Christian Soto, 22, of Rockford, was arrested Wednesday, March 27, 2024, after four people were killed and seven injured in an attack in a Rockford neighborhood.

Christian Soto, 22, of Rockford, was arrested Wednesday, March 27, 2024, after four people were killed and seven injured in an attack in a Rockford neighborhood.

More: Rockford man formally charged in mass stabbing, four deaths. Here’s what happened in court

Before clearing the courtroom as yelling continued, Paccagnini ordered that Soto be detained while he awaits trial based on the stipulation that he not have any contact with five surviving victims and their families.

“I find by clear and convicting evidence that the defendant has committed a detainable offense, and that he poses a real and present threat to the community,” Paccagnini said.

Records show Soto lives in the 4700 block of Upland Drive, in the same neighborhood where he allegedly attacked several people with knives, his pickup truck and a softball bat. Four people were killed, including a U.S. Postal Service carrier and a 15-year-old East High School student.

Prosecutors say the attacks spanned several blocks and comprised five crime scenes. Soto was arrested within an hour of the first 911 call, which came in a 1:14 p.m., Wednesday, March 27. A Winnebago County deputy was injured while taking him into custody.

Soto is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of home invasion.

According to court records, in 2022, he was charged with criminal damage to property and admitted to doing donuts with his truck in a field at Blackhawk Forest Preserve on Mulford Road. He was ordered to pay $2,037 in restitution and complete terms of the DIVERT program, which allows first-time and non-violent offenders an opportunity to keep a conviction off of their criminal record. Soto’s case was dismissed last August.

Soto’s next court date is at 8:30 a.m., April 15, in Courtroom B at the Winnebago County Justice Center. The case has been assigned to Judge Debra Schafer.

Jim Hagerty writes news stories for the Rockford Register Star. Email him at jhagerty@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Rockford stabbing suspect yells insults at judge, victims’ families



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