In a shocking development in Chicago, police arrested a 64-year-old woman, Janet Strickland, and her 19-year-old grandson and charged them with the murder of her 72-year-old husband, William Strickland, who was slain last month as he waited for a bus to his dialysis appointment.
The wife and grandson used the dead man’s money on a shopping spree, purchasing a car, home furnishings, tattoos, a cellphone and sneakers. The boy didn’t have a criminal record, but prosecutors are considering asking for a life sentence for him in the murder, while Janet Strickland was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery.
Neighbors in their Far South Side community were stunned to learn that the wife and grandson, also named William Strickland, were charged in the murder, saying the elderly couple seemed stable and happy.
But prosecutors said Janet Strickland and her grandson had talked about killing the elder Strickland many times because she was “sick” of him and wanted him dead.
“She stated … that she wished he was not here and she wanted him gone,” Assistant State’s Attorney Jacqueline Kwilos said during the bond hearing, according to the Chicago Tribune.
On Thursday before the March 2 shooting, she told her grandson that it should be done on Saturday, Kwilos said. According to the prosecutor, the two discussed having someone else kill him, but Strickland said he would do it.
Prosecutors said Janet Strickland admitted that when she unlocked the door for her husband to leave for his dialysis appointment at 3:30 a.m., she knew he would be killed by her grandson.
Kwilos said Janet Strickland also admitted knowing her grandson had his grandfather’s gun, and that she let him use her car during the shooting.
Bail was set at $500,000 for Janet Strickland yesterday, but she did not appear in court. Instead, she was held in a hospital where she was being treated for lung disease and low oxygen, police said.
The grandson, William D. Strickland, was ordered held without bail on March 30. He is accused of shooting his grandfather six times in the back.
Police recovered 25 bullet shell casings at the scene, prosecutors said.
“He was a good guy. He talked to everyone in the neighborhood,” Mario Farmer, 50, who lives two doors down, told the Chicago Tribune. “They seemed like they was all right. I never seen them arguing, but they stayed inside the house most of the time.”
Farmer said he saw the younger Strickland with a used red car with no tags — perhaps a 2004 Chevrolet — about two weeks after the shooting, at one point putting in a new sound system with a group of friends.
“He was hooking it up, but I was surprised he had it so quick because he wasn’t working,” Farmer said.