Metro-East News

Tim Hayden, who stabbed estranged wife to death in Belleville bar, is freed on parole

Timothy Hayden’s recent prison photo.
Timothy Hayden’s recent prison photo.

Tim Hayden, who stabbed his estranged wife to death nearly three decades ago as she sat at the bar of a Belleville pub and was convicted after a sensational trial, has been paroled from state prison.

Hayden, 58, whose short, close-cropped hair in prison contrasted sharply with his youthful, long-haired appearance at his arrest in July 1990, must obey strict parole requirements until Jan. 27, 2021, when his 55-year sentence for murder will officially end. He was given time off for good behavior.

By the time of his release on parole Jan. 26, Hayden, the son of a well-known local contractor, had spent 26 years in prison. He was released from the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center in Chester.

His wife, 29-year-old Theresa “Tracy” Hayden, died at about 1:15 a.m. after being stabbed at Dundee’s restaurant and pub, then at 6401 W. Main St. At the time of the murder, the 30-year-old Hayden had a lengthy criminal record, mostly for traffic and misdemeanor offenses, but was rarely convicted; when he was found guilty, he had received probation and been fined. A News-Democrat article from the time reported that Hayden had been charged with 55 offenses, including a prior felony and 29 misdemeanors since he was 20 years old.

old tim hayden mug
Timothy Hayden in 1991. BND file photo

Hayden’s lawyer, James Gomric, sought a change of venue and argued that incessant and widespread publicity generated by a trial involving a young woman being stabbed to death with witnesses all around would prevent his client from receiving a fair trial. But the motion to move the trial from St. Clair County was denied.

During the trial in a packed courtroom, expert witnesses for the prosecution and the defense sparred over whether Hayden’s mental state would have allowed him to form the intent to commit a murder, a requirement of a first-degree murder charge. Witnesses had testified that Hayden acted after his wife refused to speak with him and turned away.

Tracy Fogarty
Tracy Fogarty’s 1977 high school yearbook photo. She was stabbed to death in a Belleville bar by her estranged husband on July 27, 1990. The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s domestic violence unit is named for her. Provided

Dr. Peter Heinbecker, who treated Hayden for mental illness for three years until 1980, testified that his former patient could not have formed an intent to kill his wife and told jurors that the defendant “was out of control at the time of the stabbing.” Heinbecker also testified that Hayden suffered from drug and alcohol addiction, and displayed an acute “sociopathic” personality.

But Dr. Steven Dinwiddie, a psychiatrist who evaluated Hayden’s fitness for trial, testified for the prosecution that the 31-year-old could form the intent to commit murder. “The ability to form an intent was there,” Dinwiddie stated at trial, according to a BND report.

St. Clair County’s domestic violence center is named after Hayden’s wife, Tracy Fogarty. Fogarty was her maiden name.

Two months after the murder, News-Democrat reports detailed the death of 30-year-old Linda Topfi, who fell out of a window at Hayden’s apartment and bled to death. A coroner’s report stated the woman was intoxicated at the time and that Hayden was not at home.

George Pawlaczyk: 618-239-2625, @gapawlaczyk

Cara Anthony: 618-239-2471, @CaraRAnthony