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UPDATED 07/12/12 4:05 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A Florida man stands charged with the murder of a Sheridan Road high-rise resident – a woman who made headlines earlier this year for a very public divorce fight with her ex-husband, a Northwestern University professor.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
The man, Michael Simmons, 53, of Florida, is now charged with Mills’ murder, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
Elle Mills made headlines earlier this year for a very public divorce fight with her ex-husband, Northwestern University professor of moral and intellectual philosophy Charles Mills.
The couple was married for 17 years before divorcing in 2010. They fought over how much of his marital assets would be hers, with his attorney saying that it was a “shell marriage” to help her emigrate from Canada and that the marriage was never consummated.
A Chicago Tribune account from January of this year says Charles Mills filed for divorce in 2003, but didn’t tell his wife, and a judge granted him a default judgment of divorce. She successfully challenged that ruling, and ultimately, an appellate court ruled that Charles Mills had to turn over about a third of his marital assets and help his wife move to the United States, the Tribune account said.
Professor Charles Mills tells WBBM Newsradio he thinks Simmons may be a cousin of Elle Mills, and may have been homeless in Florida before living temporarily in Elle Mills’ condo.
A neighbor in the building, Gordon Parrish, said police had responded to Elle Mills’ condo earlier on Tuesday evening because of a domestic disturbance. He said police returned to the building on Wednesday to review lobby security cameras and interview neighbors, before charges were filed against Simmons.
Prosecutors say Simmons stabbed Mills in the heart and in the lung.
The state’s attorney says Simmons was staying with Elle Mills–and in exchange, he looked after her belongings.
The state’s attorney says Charles Mills–the ex-husband–was to make arrangements for Simmons to go back to Florida.
But that when Elle returned to her apartment, Simmons was still there–and that’s when an argument started.
Bond for Simmons was set at $750,000 Thursday.