Man used ‘samurai knife’ to kill elderly family member in Bellwood: prosecutors

Isaiah Jones | Cook County sheriff's office

A man is accused of stabbing an elderly family member dozens of times using a "samurai knife," killing her inside her Bellwood home before leaving with a phone and envelopes of cash.

Isaiah Jones, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in Thursday’s killing of 76-year-old Jearlean Willingham, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

At a court hearing Sunday, prosecutors described Willingham as his "step-great-grandmother" and said he spent much of his life with her.

After Bible study, prosecutors said Jones on Thursday took a "samurai knife" and stabbed Willingham at least 35 times in the 3800 block of West Van Buren Street, where Jones was staying, the Sun-Times reported.


Jones ran away with Willingham’s phone and bank envelopes filled with cash, prosecutors  said. A home security camera allegedly recorded him wearing distinctive red shoes and a red bag, though his face wasn’t visible.

Police arrested Jones five hours later with disassembled pieces of a handgun and a knife, loose currency and bank envelopes containing $525, the Sun-Times reported. The samurai knife was not located. Jones allegedly admitted to killing Willingham.

Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz denied bail, citing the evidence and "viciousness" of the crime, the Sun-Times reported.