Teen Held In Woman’s Death At Fullerton ‘L’ Stop

UPDATED 07/07/11 4:43 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police were hinting on Thursday that they might have solved the highly-publicized murder of a woman on a stairway at the Fullerton ‘L’ stop on the CTA Red Line four months ago.

Sally Katona-King, 68, died after a robber pushed her down the stairs at the train station in March.

As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, a teenager already in custody at a Joliet juvenile facility is being questioned in Katona-King’s death.

The 17-year-old is serving a four-year sentence for a similar iPhone robbery at another Red Line station on May 15, police said.

Katona-King’s death – like so many murders – was a senseless one.

The church receptionist was pushed down the stairs at the Fullerton Red Line station on March 28, by a man fleeing the scene after stealing another passenger’s iPhone. Katona-King took a spill and fell down the concrete steps, and later died from her injuries.

“We believe he tried to jump over her, and he knocked her over backwards,” police Belmont Area Detective Sgt. Debra DeYoung said last month.

Katona-King’s death left her children – including daughter Eileen – almost numb from grief.

“It makes no sense, no sense. A stupid cell phone. It makes no sense,” her daughter Eileen Katona said shortly after the incident.
When she was knocked down and killed, Katona-King was coming home from her job as a receptionist at the Evangelical Lutheran Metropolitan Chicago Synod in the Logan Square neighborhood.

Within a week of the incident, Chicago police were out circulating flyers with a sketch of the possible suspect.

Now, sources said that detectives are talking to a 17-year-old boy about Katona-King’s murder. Chicago police officials would only confirm significant progress has been made in the case.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

“She was amazing,” Katona-King’s friend, Bill Lambe, said Thursday. “Loving, caring; just kind of the best giving person you’d ever meet.”

Lambe said he hopes someone will eventually pay for killing a woman loved by so many.

“We hope they find whoever it was and that this tragedy leads to improvements in the security and the welfare of the commuting public here,” Lambe said.

“I think Sally would want them held accountable and punished for their actions, but also given the opportunity to grow and learn and to have a better life after that,” he added.

It’s not clear what led Chicago detectives to question the teenager, who is serving time in an Illinois Department of Corrections detention facility in Joliet.

Police said no charges are anticipated in the immediate future.

On Thursday morning at the Fullerton ‘L’ stop, which serves the Brown, Red and Purple lines is the primary stop for the busy Lincoln Park neighborhood and DePaul University campus, commuters hoped police had the right person.

“I did see that they have possibly apprehended someone; not been an arrest yet,” said Scottie Hensley. “I’d definitely like to see that arrest happen. I think there needs to be a lot more responsibility on detectives’ parts to crack down on these people.”

Kaitlin Olivero said she is “just trying to be more aware, but it’s random so… definitely more aware of your surroundings, with all of the other craziness that’s going on with flash mobs and stuff too.”

Added Matt Koehne: “When you think about how easy it is for something like that to happen just walking up the stairs, so unassuming, to be able to catch the person – it’s definitely a way to make you feel a little bit better on the commute.”

Koehne says he has both an iPod and an iPhone, but ever since he heard about what happened in the incident that killed Katona-King, he doesn’t use them on the ‘L’ train or keep them visible.

  • Just Axin

    South Side neighborhood? It just can’t be!

  • southside

    And don’t call him “Boy”. That’s racist.

    • Don

      You aren’t a man until you’re 18. “Boy” is accurate. Yes, I’m Black.

  • Pothead

    It makes a lot of sense if you’re black.

  • NWA

    Do you knuckleheads realize that your comments about this story could acerbate the grieving family? The family understands that this young man may have not tried to kill their mother, although he may be responsible for her death. And, just because some retired Chicago Po Po said he saw someone “matching the suspect’s description many miles away at a cell phone store,” doesn’t mean that this young man is the perpetrator because he has not been charged, confessed or found guilty yet.


    • Jesse's word of the day

      “Acerbate.” NWA’s word of the day from his J Jackson dictionary. Now go back to flipping burgers.

    • Leroy Goldberg



      • Jack

        I believe PUNK would be a better term

      • Mitchell1660

        He’s 17. He’s a boy.

    • southside

      I’ve never been acerbated. What is dat? Are you suggesting that the retired Po Po is mistaken becasue they all look alike?

  • Leroy Goldberg



    • Idiotic NWA

      You forgot to add S.O.S. Whatever that means. Probably some ghetto stamp.

      • Leroy Goldberg



  • benjamin

    fu**ing Naggers!

    • Mitchell1660

      You’re an a**hole.

  • p

    17yr old juvenile delinquent would suffice. he’s probab;ly gonna say he was molested by his dad and brother and that made hime do it

  • igirl

    This happened to me at the Washington Subway stop a few years ago. Busy rush hour. crowded stairs, knock down one person and everyone falls like dominoes, then, while everyone is falling or trying to regain balance, the robber grabs purses, briefcases, whatever and then disappears into the chaos and onto a train. Fortunately no one died in my incident, but there were loads of injuries. Cops told us it happens a lot. But unless someone dies it’s not newsworthy. Everyone I’ve ever told about it has a similar tale to tell of rush hour stair robberies at CTA stations, it happened to them or someone they know. (And the Paris Metro, too – apparently this rush hour robbery ruse happens a lot there, too).

    I am so sorry about Ms. Katona-King, it’s a horrible, horrible way to die. Huge, huge condolences to her family and much sympathy over the pain their senseless loss must be causing.

  • mario4545

    it is in their blood to steal I’ve sen ti looking at black and white kids

    • Mitchell1660

      It’s in their blood to steal? How stupid are you?! Apparently very. @Keisha1312: I don’t know what the hell you’re trying to say. Take a typing class… After your grammar class…

  • Keisha1312

    It’s racism to go after an african. they did granted USA the civil rights. Jacccson, Farrahan, blk caucases where are you. no justice, no peace.

    • tomas

      Let me guess, you’re related or dating the “17 year old boy.”

    • Pothead

      Keisha , you’re not very bright , are you ?

  • Dan J

    He should be tried as an adult, and should be convicted of manslaughter. She loses her life, the least he can do is lose 10 years.

  • Jackie

    Sally was such a nice woman. Whoever this boy or man is, I mean whoever this COWARD is should be punished to the fullest if he is the person responsible for this tragedy.

  • slavic

    A 17 year old male is a: Boy

    Answer: Correct.

  • tombstone


    You are correct, but a 17 year old boy that steals is also a boy and a thief. His parents should be liable as well.Good job on the quiz.

  • tombstone

    Keisha-Yeah, it’s not racist if you go after a white boy that’s a thief and contributes to a death, but I’m sure it’s racist if the boy is black and steals and contributes to a death?. Not sure why its not equal……

  • Malcom

    why do whites still live in that rats nest? you kind of deserve what you get . If a house is burning down and you fail to leave. not because you cant but because you won’t welll…..

  • Malcom

    how’s that Integration working out for White America? lol

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