DNA and at least three witnesses link a parolee with a lengthy criminal record to the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old girl who walked in on a burglary at her home in Indian Head Park last week, prosecutors said today.
John L. Wilson Jr., 38, is accused of repeatedly stabbing Kelli O'Laughlin as she arrived home from high school, then using her cell phone to send taunting text messages to her mother. He was finally arrested as authorities tracked the phone.
His family says Wilson, who has spent much of the last two decades behind bars, suffers from psychiatric problems.
“My little brother, he has a problem,” Wilson's older brother Shun Dantzler said at his home in the
Dantzler expressed sorrow for Kelli’s family. “I want justice because that’s really horrific,” he said of the slaying. “I’m so sorry for Kelli’s family. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. My God please have mercy on Kelli and on my little brother’s soul.”
Wilson was denied bail today as prosecutors disclosed new details of the slaying.
Last week Thursday, Wilson entered Kelli's neighborhood and broke a dining room window with a rock wrapped in a red knit cap, authorities said. When Kelli arrived home around 3:40 p.m., "she was confronted by
Wilson grabbed an 8-inch carving knife from a butcher's block and stabbed Kelli in the neck, back and chest, Alvarez said. He then dragged her body from the family room into the kitchen, she said.
He ransacked the home and fled with a bowl of coins, an
In the hours after the slaying, Wilson used the phone to send "taunting and disturbing" messages to Kelli's mother, Alvarez said. "There are no words to describe how horrific it is," she said.
Wilson was spotted in the neighborhood by at least three people who helped police draw up a sketch.
Later that day, a Willow Springs police officer encountered Wilson at a 7-Eleven at Willow Springs Road and Archer Avenue, about 5 miles from the O’Laughlin home. Police had gone there in response to a disturbance involving Wilson, who apparently had car trouble.
Wilson called for a cab "and the investigation determined the defendant was dropped off at the Orange Line by
The Willow Springs officer had several days off and didn't return to work until Wednesday. It was then that he recognized the man matched the sketch.
“The information from the stop in
In the meantime, police were tracking Kelli's phone and eventually Wilson's phone, noticing they were being used in the same places, Alvarez said.
Wilson was located Wednesday on the South Side. When found, he had his phone but not Kelli’s.
DNA recovered from the knit cap matched Wilson, Alvarez said. And the three witnesses have identified Wilson in a line-up, she said.
Wilson is a habitual criminal who has been in prison for 17 of the last 20 years, Troy said. A review of prison and court records show Wilson’s crimes escalated in violence.
Wilson was last paroled Nov. 16, 2010 after serving part of an 11-year prison term for robbery in which he snatched a woman’s purse after grabbing her by the throat near her car in Chicago in August 2002.
While serving his sentence, Wilson was convicted of spitting on prison guards at Pontiac Correctional Center during a scuffle. He received another two-year prison term for aggravated battery of a correctional officer, court records showed.
Wilson also served earlier stints in prison for various crimes, dating back to 1991, that include possession of a controlled substance and aggravated vehicular hijacking. In the latter crime, Wilson pleaded guilty to pointing a gun at a motorist’s head in November 1993 during the car theft.
The victim was able to flee unharmed. Wilson fled, but crashed the stolen car shortly later after a short police chase.
“While being chased he drops a coat containing the gun that he pointed at the victim,” according to Cook County court records.
After hearing the defendant’s criminal history, Cook County Judge Peter Felice denied bail.
“I believe he does pose a real and present threat,” Felice said.
Wilson's brother said he told a judge about Wilson's mental problems. "If he's fit for trial, why is he doing so much negativity in custody?" Dantzler said he told the judge in 2002. "Throwing feces on the guards. You don't do stuff like that. My grandma did not raise us to be like that."