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'She did not want to die': Man convicted of murder for hitting girlfriend with truck

Before she succumbed to her injuries, Lisa Dunnavant-Polach told her rescuers, “I have children. I’m not ready to die yet."
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — A man has been convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in connection to the death of his girlfriend after a domestic violence dispute. 

According to Madison County State's Attorney Thomas Haine, the jury took less than an hour to return from deliberation with a verdict, finding Richard Mayor, 60, guilty of first-degree murder for intentionally striking Lisa Dunnavant-Polach, 46, with his pickup along a highway in Pontoon Beach on Feb. 21. He initially faced reckless homicide. 

Evidence and testimony showed that following a dispute, Dunnavant-Polach tried to run away from Mayor, who was driving his pickup truck along Illinois 111. 

A witness was driving a tractor-trailer nearby when he saw Dunnavant-Polach in distress and pulled over to help her. But when she tried to jump into the semi, she was hit by Mayor’s pickup. The former marine testified that he pulled the microphone wire off his CB radio and used it to tie a tourniquet on Dunnavant-Polach's severed leg after she'd been struck. Dunnavant-Polach told the good Samaritan that her boyfriend was at the wheel of the pickup.  

She was taken to a St. Louis hospital, where she died of her injuries. Before she succumbed to her injuries, she told her rescuers, “I have children. I’m not ready to die yet."

Credit: Madison County State's Attorney
Lisa M. Dunnavant-Polach.

Pontoon Beach Police arrived on the scene and gathered information about the suspect's vehicle. Mayor’s vehicle, a damaged white pickup, was later found about 5 miles away on Illinois 203 in Granite City. A Madison County sheriff’s deputy found Mayor near the pickup and took him into custody. 

Mayor testified in court that he accidentally struck his girlfriend after his foot got stuck between his truck’s brake and accelerator. He also said he continued driving after the impact because he “blacked out," and thought the damage to his truck was caused by hitting a deer. 

Mayor’s account was deemed “fantastical" by Madison County Assistant State's Attorney Luke Yager. 

Haine provided comment regarding the case, which reads:

“The outstanding work of police, the testimony of the witnesses and the diligent work of prosecutors allowed the jury to quickly see through this killer’s many lies. This was an extreme case of domestic violence. We will continue to strive to hold domestic abusers accountable. We highly commend the fellow motorists and emergency responders who heroically tried to help Lisa Dunnavant-Polach and save her life. These good samaritans continued to do the right thing, by having the courage to come to court and tell the jury what the victim could not: that it was Richard Mayor who mowed her down, and that she did not want to die.”

A sentencing date is not yet scheduled; however, Mayor is eligible for an extended sentence of 60 to 100 years in prison.

Credit: Madison County State's Attorney
Richard D. Mayor.

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