CHICAGO (WBBM) – Funeral services took place Monday at a north side church for the 49-year-old Wilmette woman beaten to death Christmas Day with a baseball bat.

Shortly after services were completed for Nancee Rapoport, nephew Anthony Rapoport, who is charged with the murder, appeared briefly before Circuit Court Judge Timothy Chambers.

The 24-year-old Rapoport looked briefly for family members around the courtroom, at the Skokie courthouse. Attorneys obtained a delay in his preliminary hearing until Thursday.

Outside of court, the victim’s estranged husband, Ken Rapoport, broke down in tears as he spoke with reporters, and required help as he got to his feet, shaking.

“It’s hard,” he said of the upheaval in his family in the past week. “She doesn’t deserve that.”

Although Rapoport had moved out of his parents’ home, at 3115 Hill Ln., in Wilmette, in September, he said he “didn’t see a problem” in leaving his nephew, who has a history of mental problems, under the same roof.

“If I would have seen this coming, I wouldn’t have had Nancee there or had him there,” Rapoport said. “I would have had them separated.”

Despite his nephew’s troubled history, Rapoport said, “He seemed to be doing good. I was proud of him. Nancee was proud of him. He looked up to Nancy.”

Ken Rapoport said he and his elderly parents vouched for Anthony and persuaded a judge to release him on a personal recognizance bond hours before the murder. Now, he said, he would like to see his nephew “hang, if possible.”

“If I was asked if he was in full control of his mind that day, I’d say as in full control as you and me right now,” he said.

Ken Rapoport conceded that he was about to file divorce papers because of his deteriorating relationship with the victim, whom he said briefly moved out of the Hill Lane home but returned at the insistence of his 90-year-old grandmother, who suffers from dementia and did not trust others to care for her.

Anthony Rapoport had appeared Christmas Day after being arrested on an arrest warrant issued when he failed to appear Nov. 22 or Dec. 1 in Skokie Court on unrelated aggravated assault charges. Ken Rapoport said he told the judge that the notice for the Dec. 1 hearing did not arrive until mid-December.

He conceded that Anthony had previously threatened Nancee this summer, but said she had dropped the charges.

“He had issues. A lot of people have issues,” Ken Rapoport said. “He was controlling it by what I had seen.”

Ken Rapoport said efforts to find Anthony’s mother, Lori, have failed. Ken said Anthony told him before the murder the he believed her to be dead. He said the last contact the family had with her was eight years ago. Anthony Rapoport has been estranged for many years from his father, Charles, who lives in the north side Rogers Park neighborhood.

Attorneys refused to discuss negotiations in the case.

Watch & Listen LIVE