CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago couple acting as caretakers for a mentally ill man and a third person have been charged with murder in the man’s slaying, authorities said.
Chicago police found the bruised body of Frederick Johnson in the couple’s South Side garage on June 25. He died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries.
Santino Carter, 38; Dominique Beck, 29; and Brian Gray, 48, each have each been charged with first-degree murder in Johnson’s death. Beck also is charged with neglect as a caregiver.
Carter and Beck collected Johnson’s disability checks to serve as his caretakers in their home for about two years, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday. Johnson, who was in his 40s, had schizoaffective and bipolar disorders and a history of seizures, prosecutors said.
Johnson’s bruised body was found June 25 after an anonymous tip, authorities said.
Beck, claiming to be his sister, had reported Johnson missing two days earlier, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said in court.
Following a police investigation and the arrest of the three suspects, Beck told investigators that the death happened after Johnson defecated in the home and exposed himself to the couple’s children, Murphy said.
An eyewitness told investigators that she saw Carter punishing Johnson by making him bend over to touch his toes for several hours and that Carter struck the man with a wooden stick every time he got out of position, Murphy said.
The witness said that she saw Carter hit the man in the ribs with a large chain and that she saw him enter a room with a hammer and heard the victim cry out in pain.
Police traced the anonymous tip to Gray, who admitted that Carter paid him $100 to help clean up the scene where Johnson was killed and hide the body.
Cook County Circuit Judge John F. Lyke Jr. denied bail for Carter and Gray, while ordering Beck held in lieu of $1 million bail.
“What the state just read to me shocked the conscious to say the least,” Lyke said. “And if all of this is true, it’s wickedness and evilness on a whole other level.”
It was not clear whether the three defendants have attorneys who might comment on the case.