No bond for man charged in `88 cold case murder in Rogers Park - KMSP-TV

No bond for man charged in `88 cold case murder in Rogers Park

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

An Evanston man was ordered held without bond Friday for allegedly raping an elderly woman in her Rogers Park home more than 25 years ago.

Prentice Phillips, 48, is accused of breaking into 82-year-old Margaret Blair's apartment in 1988 and sexually assaulting her. She died from her injuries less than a week later, authorities said.

Phillips was charged Thursday with one count of first-degree murder for the attack, police said. He was also charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery of a physically handicapped person, and stalking, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office.

The then-23-year-old Phillips knocked on the window of a basement apartment in the 7200 block of North Sheridan Road about 3 a.m. July 11, 1988, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Pat Morley said in court Friday.

Phillips tried to get into the apartment by telling Blair there was a prowler in the area, Morley said. When Blair refused to let Phillips inside, he kicked the door open.

The door hit Blair in the face, and Phillips got on top of her and put his hand over her mouth and raped her, Morley said. He then robbed her of $65 and ran away, police said.

Blair was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston with abrasions and bleeding, a broken rib and injured back, Morley said. She died from the injuries four days later.

An autopsy determined Blair died from multiple injuries to the arms, neck, chest and the fractured rib, Morley said. The doctor also found bruising on the 80-pound woman's face, elbow, bicep, knee and foot.

A paper towel with Phillips' DNA was collected after the attack and sent to the crime lab, which did not yet have the ability to test for DNA in 1988, Morley said.

Chicago Police submitted the paper towel to the Illinois State Crime Lab on May 4, 2013, for a DNA test and found it matched Phillips, Morley said.

Phillips has four felony convictions, Morley said. He was sentenced to one year's probation for a 1995 drug conviction, four years in prison for a 2001 burglary, nine years for a 2005 aggravated battery to a police officer charge, and two years for a 2011 attempted burglary.

Phillips was already being held in the Cook County Jail on unrelated charges.

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