Northwest Side school 16-year-old teen charged with murder of man in Lincolnwood
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
A 16-year-old Northwest Side school student was charged as an adult for allegedly fatally stabbing an Uber driver in an incident in the Village of Lincolnwood at about 3:20 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, in the 7200 block of North Lincoln Avenue, according to Lincolnwood police and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Officers responded to a call of a man shouting for help near Lincoln and Touhy avenues and discovered the man by a condominium building with multiple stab wounds, according to police. The man reported that a female passenger had stabbed him and the suspect was located based on a description behind a nearby building in possession of two weapons believed to have been used in the crime, police said. The man was transported to Saint Francis Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:55 a.m., police said. This marks the first homicide in the village since 2006, according to the village.
The man was identified by police as Grant Nelson, age 34, of the 1100 block of Isabela Street, Wilmette.
The suspect was identified by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office as Eliza Wasni, age 16, of unknown address at this time. Wasni has been charged with first-degree murder. Wasni was reportedly enrolled at Taft High School in February. A judge denied her bail on May 31 at the Cook County Skokie Courthouse, 5600 Old Orchard Road, Skokie.
According to the state’s attorney’s office, Wasni was picked up at about 1:25 a.m. by the first of three Uber drivers that night, who drove her to a train station in Des Plaines. From there, the defendant then ordered a second Uber, which picked her up in Des Plaines at 2:18 a.m. and dropped her off at the Walmart store, 3606 W. Touhy Ave., Skokie, at about 2:36 a.m., the prosecutor said.
The state’s attorney said that Wasni walked into the store and removed a knife and a machete from its packaging and was then observed on video walking throughout the store while holding items and then walked out the store without paying for the items and was not stopped by Walmart employees.
A prosecutor said that Wasni then ordered a third Uber ride and was picked up at 3:18 a.m. by Nelson and that as he was driving his Hyundai Sonata near the intersection of Touhy and Lincoln he was stabbed from the back seat, according to the attorney’s office.
Nelson maneuvered his vehicle into the driveway of a condominium apartment building at 7201 W. Touhy Ave., and ran into the lobby door and was heard banging and screaming, "help me, help me! I’m going to die!" by residents, who called 911, the prosecutor said.
Wasni allegedly attempted to flee in Nelson’s vehicle by getting into the front seat and driving from the condo building driveway and struck a raised median on Lincoln north of Touhy and fled the scene, according to the office.
Officers followed a trail of blood leading from the parking lot, to the door of the building and then around the side of the building, where they discovered Nelson, bleeding from multiple deep stab and hacking wounds to his arms, side, head and chest, according to the prosecutor.
The state’s attorney said that officers discovered Wasni about a block north on Lincoln and found her hiding behind a building, crouched by a large air conditioner with machete in one hand and the knife in the other. Officers told the teenager to drop the weapons and when she refused she was electronically shocked and placed under arrest, the attorney’s office said. Both the knife and machete were the ones stolen from Walmart earlier in the evening, as officers later recovered the packaging for both weapons at the store.
The last homicide in the village was in 2006, when James B. McDurmon was charged and convicted in the death of his brother, Lester McDurmon. McDurmon was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment.