Man charged in killing Edison Park woman, two animals
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI and BRIAN NADIG
An Edison Park man was charged with murder after he allegedly bludgeoned a 70-year-old neighbor to death and killed her bird and a cat at about 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 8, at a 2-flat in the 6600 block of North Northwest Highway, according to Chicago police and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
According to a court proffer, a witness went to the home to purchase a statue from the woman and was interested in fostering her bird, and when she didn’t respond to her texts she rang the doorbell. She had previously purchased a painting from the woman earlier in the week, the documents said.
The witness told police that while she was knocking on the door an upstairs neighbor reportedly yelled out the window that he had killed the woman and when she went to her car the man reportedly threatened to kill her as well and she called 911, according to police.
The man reportedly shouted similar remarks about killing the woman to responding officers and when they opened the unlocked front door they found a woman lying face down on the living room floor, police said.
The woman was unresponsive and had been beaten in the head with a blunt instrument, police said. There also was a dead bird and cat inside the first-floor apartment, according to police.
The woman was identified by the state’s attorney’s office as Dyan Nickerson, age 70, of the 6600 block of Northwest Highway. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death a homicide.
Officers set up a perimeter around the building, and about 30 minutes later the man came out the rear door and was arrested, police said. A special weapons and tactics team was called to the location, but the man came outside prior to the unit’s arrival, police said.
The suspect was identified by police as Thomas M. Diskin, age 56, of the 6600 block of Northwest Highway. He is charged with first-degree murder, home invasion and aggravated cruelty to animals.
According to court documents, officers recovered a hammer and a marble pedestal that were both covered in blood, and Diskin made admissions that were video recorded by detectives that he thought the woman was the devil and that her bird was Satan and that God told him to kill her. The man reportedly said that “cats are human beings” and he had to “destroy the cat,” the proffer said.
The man admitted on video to using the hammer and the marble column to strike the woman and that “he felt great after he did it,” the court proffer said.
Court documents also said that Diskin had a prior incident in which he was aggressive with the woman on Oct. 26, 2021, and that he ransacked her apartment but she didn’t want to press charges and wanted him to “get mental help.” At the time, police took him to a psychiatric hospital, the proffer said.
In January, the suspect was charged with battery and simple assault in connection with an incident in the 7000 block of North Oriole Avenue in the 16th (Jefferson Park) District in which an off-duty officer reportedly had a beer bottle thrown at him and he was punched several times and arrested Diskin, according to police.