By Associated Press - Monday, April 5, 2021

BELLWOOD, Ill. (AP) - A suburban Chicago man charged in a relative’s fatal stabbing used a “samurai knife” to stab the 76-year-old victim dozens of times inside her home, a prosecutor said.

Isaiah Jones, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in Thursday’s killing of 76-year-old Jearlean Willingham in the Cook County village of Bellwood. Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz denied bail on Sunday for Jones, citing the evidence and “viciousness” of the crime.

Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Christina Dracopoulos said at Sunday’s court hearing that Willingham was Jones’ “step-great-grandmother” and he had been staying at her home, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Dracopoulos said Jones took what the suspect described as a “samurai knife” and repeatedly stabbed Willingham early Thursday inside her home. She suffered at least 35 stab wounds, some of which pierced her heart and lungs.

Willingham’s daughter found her blood-covered body, Dracopoulos said.

Jones, who was arrested nearby about five hours later, admitted killing Willingham and acknowledged that blood covering his body was hers, Dracopoulos said.

Authorities said Jones was found with disassembled pieces of a handgun and a knife, loose currency and bank envelopes containing $525.

Jones’ attorney, Greg LaPapa, said his client works at a clothing store and is trying to get his GED. He noted that his client’s face wasn’t seen in surveillance video recorded at Willingham’s home.

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