Man Charged With Killing 14-Year-Old Girl In Indian Head Park

Killer Sent Texts To Mother | No Bond | Suspect On Parole | Funeral Today

UPDATED 11/04/11 12:41 p.m.

INDIAN HEAD PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Authorities have charged a parolee in the grisly murder of 14-year-old Kelli O’Laughlin in Indian Head Park, and say he taunted the girl’s mother with text messages afterward.

RELATED: Community Comes Together One Last Time For Kelli O’Laughlin

John Wilson Jr., 38, whose last known address was in the 7900 block of South Lafayette Avenue, was denied bond at hearing Friday morning at the Bridgeview Courthouse, on charges of residential burglary and first-degree murder. Bridgeview Judge Peter Felice said Wilson poses a public threat and cannot be released.

Prosecutors say Wilson has spent only three years out of jail since 1991. In that time, he has racked up five prior convictions, including drug dealing, burglary and armed robbery.

His most recent conviction was in September 2002 when he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for vehicle invasion and robbery. He had been paroled on Nov. 16, 2010, having become eligible after serving 50 percent of his sentence.

“This is a person who was paroled back in November of last year, who came into this very beautiful town a week ago to commit a burglary, broke into a house, and killed a beautiful 14-year-old little girl,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Kelli, a Lyons Township High School freshman, was found stabbed to death by her mother on Thursday, Oct. 27, in their home in the 6300 block of Keokuk Drive.

Wilson had been spotted near the O’Laughlins’ house by three witnesses between 2:45 and 3:30 p.m. that day. Kelli had gotten off the bus from school at 3:40 p.m. and entered the house, only to be confronted by Wilson, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said.

Wilson stabbed Kelli when she walked in the front door and dragged her from the family room to the kitchen, Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Troy said at the suspect’s bond hearing. The teen was pronounced dead at LaGrange Memorial Hospital in LaGrange soon afterward, Alvarez said. Authorities say she had been stabbed several times in the neck, chest and the back.

Wilson allegedly used a butcher knife that had been on a butcher block in the kitchen. The Chicago Cutlery carving knife with a blade length of 8 inches found next to pool of blood, Troy said.

kelli olaughlin 1 Man Charged With Killing 14 Year Old Girl In Indian Head Park

Kelli O'Laughlin (Courtesy: O'Laughlin Family)

The house was ransacked, and Wilson took a bowl filled with various types of foreign coins, Alvarez said. He also took Kelli’s cell phone and an iPod touch, she said.

In the hours after the murder, Wilson sent Kelli’s mother text messages of “a taunting and disturbing nature” from Kelli’s cell phone, Alvarez said.

Dart declined to elaborate on what specifically Wilson said in the text messages.

“I don’t want to get into the specific details of it, but it was, obviously, a very horrific crime was committed here, and then to have the mother of the victim being subjected to taunts from the person who did this – you know, words can’t describe that. I don’t even know how you can put that into context,” he said.

Wilson had broken into the house by placing a rock inside a knit cap and throwing it through the dining room window. The cap was recovered by investigators, and was sent to the Illinois State Crime Lab where a DNA profile for Wilson was found, Alvarez said.

Meanwhile, after the murder, Wilson was spotted around 7 p.m. the same day at a 7-11 store in Willow Springs. He had contact with a police officer who had been called to the scene for a disturbance, and quickly called for a taxi, Alvarez said.

Dart would not get into specifics about the disturbance at the store or whether it involved the suspect or was unrelated.

Police removed the entire video camera system from the store as part of their investigation.

The taxi dropped Wilson off at the CTA Orange Line near Midway International Airport, and Wilson paid the taxi driver using various foreign coins that were presumably the ones stolen from the O’Laughlins’ house, Alvarez said. Investigators recovered the coins from the cab driver.

During the coming hours and days, police used cell phone technology to trace Wilson’s personal cell phone, and tracked it in tandem with Kelli’s cell phone, Alvarez said.

He was arrested Wednesday on Chicago’s South Side.

The death penalty was abolished in Illinois earlier this year, but Alvarez said if death were still an option, her office likely would have sought it for Wilson.

“This is a case that definitely would have qualified for the seeking of the death penalty. It’s a felony murder. It’s a murder that occurred during the commission of a burglary,” Alvarez said. “So yes, it’s a case that would have qualified, and I believe it’s a case where we would have sought it.”

Meanwhile, Kelli’s funeral mass was held Friday at St. John of the Cross Church, 5005 Wolf Road in Western Springs.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

  • Agree

    Violent as in hand guff to chair, use plyers to pull off each finger nail one at a time , once a finger nail has been removed then cover wound fully with salt. Once complete cut each finger off at knuckle, once again cover wound fully with salt. DO NOT LET CONVICT PASS OUT !!! He MUST FEEL PAIN.

  • Gov

    I can not believe this has happen. The person should now get the chair for this crime. Because if he gets life (which he will) we the tax payer will pay for his stay. Bring back the chair another law pass by one of our convicted Governors. Ryan and etc.

  • Remus

    The DEATH Sentence eliminated in Illinois.
    I wonder what goes through Gov. Quinn’s mind when he views the news of the murder of this innocent 14 year old.
    Remorse? Sorry? Pity?
    None of the above.
    He thinks about how it will effect his status and future as governor.

    • Big Tiny

      No death penalty and no right to carry…most pathetic, corrupt state in the union

    • Roberta Waker

      Wonder what he would do if it was HIS daughter or family member. If he has a conscience, he should not get any sleep at night when he thinks about what this young woman and other innocent victims went through by releasing these violent career criminals. We NEED to build more prisons, not let criminals out early to maim and kill. Wake up, Gov.

  • a dam shame

    The devils are roaming the land. Not just this case but countless others, I pray for the family. My cousin was killed years ago the violence has to stop. I have never seen a generation full of so much hate in my life! Give these people jobs or something to do.

    • Stop the Madness

      Let’s just remember how this young girl lived and not how she died. It makes no sense when you say things like that. Let’s be respectful

    • Sam Solis

      Some whites commit murder too. Why is it that blacks always get the blame? And blacks aren’t the only ones that are gansters. There are white gansters too.

      • Gregory

        Whites when they kill, tend to kill other whites. White on black racist crime is almost non-existant. White on black rape is non-existant.

        Blacks kill/rob/rape whites fairly frequently. Black on white racist crime makes up the majority of robbery/rape/murder statistics. It’s racist but politicians hate to admit it, the press hates to list the rapist’s race (because they’re usually black and it’s racist to notice who is raping our loved ones and getting away with it).

        Look at the Justice Departments “Uniform Crime Statistics” report. Black criminals, white victims, hate crimes.

      • Anglo-Saxon


      • Jimbo


    • Alx1775

      “Giving” jobs will fix nothing. In the immortal words of John Wayne in McClintock.
      “I don’t give jobs, I hire men.” People who are only given things will never know their value. People who labor to earn things will treat them with respect.

      Government handouts are psychologically destroying a generation.

  • Just Axin

    Hey CBS, try to find out if he was paroled early for his previous crimes or ever given the chance to plea bargin and get out early. Could this have been prevented?

    • Info

      You can google “IDOC Inmate Search” and then type in his name for a list of his previous crimes. He was last convicted in 2002 and sentenced to 11 years, but paroled late last year. So it looks like he served 8 of the 11 years. (That’s actually pretty good- usually they only serve half the sentence.) Also, he’s only been out of jail 3 years in the last 20, so they did a pretty good job of keeping him behind bars considering how weak the justice/punishment system usually is.

  • Yoshi

    Hang him by a bridge

  • Chivi

    I hope he gets his ass kicked in jail. I hope he lives to suffer all his life. He does not deserve to die right away. That is way too easy. He needs to suffer. He needs to be tortured and kept alive only to torture him again.

  • Brod

    He goes into jail as a robber and emerges from jail as a murderer; the system works!
    The first time this bozo stole something, the state should’ve cut off his hands. It’s pretty hard to break and enter, let alone stab someone when your arms end at the wrist……

  • Charles

    I agree that this man should suffer the rest of his natural life in jail, but please, it’s not about race. Don’t single out all us African-Americans. I do not want to be compared with this guy. We should be celebrating the way this young woman lived and not the way she died. RIP Kelli. Gone too soon. Heaven now has an angel.

  • Community Comes Together One Last Time For Kelli O’Laughlin « CBS Chicago

    […] […]

  • Carlita Wherehewanabe Martinez


  • John

    I’m not trying to be insensitive, but that guy looks a lot like Barry Bonds.

  • Just Axin

    Roberta- We have more than enough prison space; it’s just not being used wisely. Set loose the non-violent drug offenders and we’ll never have to set free or plea bargin a violent offender again to make room.

  • PG

    I’m so sorry that the justice system failed to protect this young woman from this animal. He has been in jail all but 3 years for the past two decades, and apparently nothing in the jail “reformed” him to be a better citizen.

    This is just a sad story, a horrible way to die for this young woman, and a huge failure by our justice system to protect her from someone who obviously should have been put out of all of our miseries a long time ago.

  • Alexandra Santos Villarreal

    That is why they should never have abolished the death penalty. If Illinois can’t do it, then send him to Texas. Texas doesn’t have any issues with it!

  • Disgusted

    He is a miscreant animal who should suffer a SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH. But NO, here in IL we have support this piece of xxxx for the rest of his life. He will get 3 meals a day, exercise and WE have to pay for it. He is the poster child for why IL needs the DEATH PENALTY.

  • Shela O.

    To the family of Kelli:

    My heart breaks as I read this story. Some people can be cruel, just as Cain was who killed his brother Abel. Know that God cares and that soon there is going to be a resurrection on earth and you can see her again in a world without the wicked. (Acts 24:15, Psalms 37:9-11)

  • JKo

    Everyone calling for the death penalty…that won’t bring this girl back. Quit going after corrupt politicians like Blago and keep violent offenders behind bars! And right to carry??? Excuse me, like a 14 year old suburban white girl is going to be packing a gun for protection!

  • uggboot001
  • Brad

    Prayers to the O’laughlin family. I can only imagine
    how beautiful she was. And still is.
    Crying now as I type this.

  • Vicky Kujawa

    Now we’ll have to support this piece of trash for the rest of his life. Thanks Quinn.

  • Helen

    Failed system. So sad. We do need death penalty for these animals. It’s time to wake up!

  • Nick Chicago

    Bring back the death penalty,it`s badly needed for people like this.
    Put a referendum on the next ballot.
    Call 911 when something dosen`t look right,police willNOT come to your location unless you ask them to.
    People don`t hesitate to get involed in a simple 911 call.
    Police must racial profile people in certain areas to keep their communities safe

  • ex-po

    what if this happened to a bigshot politician`s daughter I wonder about bringing back the death penalty than!!!!

  • tks

    On the practical side, it costs approximately 10x more to execute someone than for them to be in jail for life!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live