Man Beaten To Death On Near West Side

Updated: 1/4/11 – 10:19 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Right in public view, off a playground at Fosco Park in the 1300 block of West Hastings Street, a man was found stripped naked and beaten to death. CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports.

Police aren’t saying much about the murder investigation. But people in the Near West Side Chicago housing complex where it happened are speaking up. They’re upset to have lost a friend.

“It hurts because I know him, and it hurts bad,” said Loretta Williams.

Williams, and other neighbors in the housing complex, lost a friend in a brutal way.

What one teenager saw on his way to school, as he rode past a play lot, was a man he knew, who was badly beaten.

Some people saw 59-year-old victim, Benjamine West, right from their front doors.

“I cried. Ben is a nice older guy,” said Latasha Williams.

They wonder why anyone would leave him naked the way they did.

“They thought he had money,” said Mary Morris. “They take money from older people. That’s what they had to think to take all his clothes off.”

That’s speculation police are not confirming.

They’re also not commenting on anything else we heard near the scene, like the rumor two teenagers are responsible for West’s death.

If chatter doesn’t lead to the suspects, maybe camera’s will. We saw them all over the complex.

“What they did to my friend Ben, that was wrong,” Williams said.

“We ain’t got a picture of him to show who he is or nothing, and that hurts,” said Morris.

A family representative says West was basically homeless.

But friends like Mary Morris tell us he worked odd jobs and would help anyone.

She sat with him just yesterday and they talked over coffee.

When asked what she would say to the people who did this, Morris said, “You need to get on the right track and make something better of your life.”

That’s assuming the suspects are teenagers.

An Illinois court report shows West had a drug possession record, but nothing indicating any violence.

People who knew him say he wouldn’t have hurt anyone, and didn’t deserve to die the way he did.

Police say no one is in custody at this time.

  • Average Guy

    How dare they use family and homeless in the same sentence. Anyone who has family should not be homeless. Nine times to ten, the boys who did this were raised by African-American Women. Men who are raised properly by men tend to respect other men.

    • Que

      1st thing mr. Average guy ( a joke) You have no clue about African American women or you wouldnt have made that comment. White women raise criminals to fool. What does having a man around change. So men that were raised by other men respect men, what about respecting a woman. Your lack of respect for any woman black/white is clear. Are u Gay? Men like you hate women lol get a life!!

      • Average Guy

        I have a beautiful double degreed wife. Three children two degreed, one who is double degreed and my youngest is in college as we speak. Two boys, one girl and we are African-American. Oh, I’m not a grandfather yet. Let’s go kids. Your mother keeps asking when?

    • p funk

      You are an ass!

      • Average Guy

        I know.

  • Me ME

    I don’t know what’s worse, this man’s death, or the fact that no address was given in this article. Sloppy journalism at its best!

  • Normajean Price

    Sadly I know of many white families that have sons who would do this for a lark.

    • Average Guy

      This was in an African-American community. The fact is whites commit more crime then blacks according to the FBI. Please stop comparing skin color. Younger African-American men did this.

    • KE


  • Ashley F

    People are pathetic, how sick and depraved do you have to be to do that to any human.

  • Mr Voter

    more “hood rat honor students” no doubt…as one of thier manty “daddies ” are in prison as crack head mama walks the streets….

    • Mr.Voter's black son

      You’re more than likely the kind of “MR Voter” the Tea Party and the John Boehners love to attract. Yes lower the deficit and give us tax breaks becuase one day the MR Voters of the world will be super rich like we are here at CEO United States Corp. SMH Clown College graduate are you MR Voter …

    • Average Guy

      Too harsh but probably true.

  • gee-reg

    All those cameras around that Daley said will stop crime !!! Hey average guy whites commit more crime because there are more whites in America (thank GOD) than blacks BUT what you need to look at is on average per population more blacks commit crime than whites that is why there are more blacks in prison than whites.

    • jenjoe

      Shut up. Your race has murder more people on this planet than any other race. You kill your mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son, baby, and your dog for nothing! Look at the news. Everyday there is some white wife missing and her husband pretends she ran off. A 10 year old just shot his mother in the head because he didn’t want to do his chores. White kills just as much!! You kill just as much if not more than blacks, because you know how to hide things better. Also I have no respect for the young women of today, black or white or whatever when you have children you are not prepared to take care of. I fault the welfare system. Welfare people are not made to be accountable for their lives. They get WIC, LINK, and a check and they have to do nothing to get it. They should have to sweep the streets if necessary. I also have no respect for the young pukes who murder someone to get what they have because they were too lazy to go to school and get an education. The system didn’t stop you, your mother did! Also I am a Black female who is sick of this ignorance. Whites are no saints and neither are blacks. It is about choices and any fool knows right from wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Evilbunnyrabbits

    Shame people can’t talk about these issues like adults with out getting defensive. The fact is, yes the black communities in Chicago suffer from high crime. That’s not to infer that all black people are criminals. You know a ghetto person when you see one and they come in all colors. It’s not a race issue it’s a human quality problem, and the only way you create a better quality human is with good parenting.

    • Thanks!

      Thank for this common sense statement. God Bless!

  • Rejowi25

    All I’m going to say is that Ben was a part of a family, and he has many people that love and care for him. I have only known him for a while, but I will miss him and know that he had decided to follow Christ, and I rejoice that the cruelty of this world is over for him, for now he is in Glory!

  • Johnnie Sanders

    Although I have not seen Ben in years, I will miss him dearly. I am looking at some of the comments and it seems as if some are missing the true issue here. The fact is a good, very good man had his life taken, that should not be used as a platform for social issues. Mr Average Guy I grew up in that neighborhood (7 stories for those who know the area), I was raised by an African-American Woman and also have three children. Odd is it not, I have two College graduates and one in college at this time and I am a college graduate. Point is we should not judge someone because of whom and/or what they are and/or where they are from. Ben was the first person I knew that attended and finished college. I consider myself lucky to have known a man like him. Ben your life was important even though some may not think so because of your zip code.

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