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Murderer pleads to unlawful contact with minor

Puccio faces additional jail time in unrelated Champaign County case.

Matthew Puccio, already serving 42 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend last year, pleaded guilty Wednesday to new charges that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl.

Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said Puccio, 27, pleaded guilty to a single count of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, a third-degree felony. A single count of importuning was dropped as part of the plea agreement. Puccio is scheduled to face a sentencing hearing at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.

He is now being held at the London Correctional Institution after he admitted to murdering and dismembering Jessica Rae Sacco at their apartment on West Light Street last year. Four other individuals were also convicted for their roles in helping Puccio cover up the crime before Sacco’s body was discovered.

The new charge stems from an incident that occurred before the murder took place. According to his indictment, Puccio was accused of having sexual contact with a teenager between Feb. 6 and Feb. 14, last year. Sacco was murdered in March, and authorities have said the two cases are unrelated.

Talebi said Puccio could serve as much as five additional years for the new charge. In addition, Puccio will be classified as a sex offender.

Information from the Urbana Police Division showed the juvenile ran away from home and stayed with Puccio in the West Light Street apartment. The teen was eventually taken back to Texas, and at the time, Puccio was convicted on a charge of interference with custody.

But in December last year, the teen told investigators in Texas that Puccio had raped her while she was living in the apartment.

Authorities have said a conviction on the new charges likely could mean Puccio would serve additional time in prison.

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