2 facing charges in Country Club Hills murders

Community struggles with 5 murders in 10 days
February 10, 2009 6:00:43 AM PST
Another murder in south suburban Country Club Hills has brought the total number of homicides to five in the last 10 days.Two people have been arrested and are facing charges in two of the cases.

The latest victim was a 34-year-old man. Police say his 14-year-old stepson stabbed him to death after being disciplined for not doing his homework. The teen then fled on foot.

On Sunday, the 14-year-old was taken into custody. Wearing a t-shirt and jeans and no shoes, the suspect was found in a field just outside of a fire station. He was captured by police as authorities were conducting a sweep of the area. The 14-year-old's capture brings the investigation to a conclusion and allows investigators to concentrate on finding the persons responsible for the other recent violent deaths.

A 22-year-old man turned himself in to authorities Sunday after police issued arrest warrants for him in the death of 18-year-old George Britton.

"Since we don't have anything to hide, that's why we came in. We'll address all these issues in court," said the young man's attorney, John Lyke.

Meanwhile, the family of George Britton was trying to cope with their loss.

"I'm trying stay strong and be a leader for my family. It hurts. How can some individual take the life of another individual? It hurts," said father George Britton Sr.

"He wanted to do something with his life. He didn't deserve to be murdered on the street," said Erica Britton, the victim's mother.

The most recent murder in Country Club Hills happened Saturday night when a 34-year-old John Weatherspoon was allegedly stabbed to death by his stepson after the two argued over homework.

"I just heard that?he was very strict and couldn't come out," neighbor Valerie Montgomery said.

Weatherspoon's death came one day after investigators say Sheryl Jones, 59, was strangled to death by her mentally ill son, Jarret Jones. Jones is in custody, and he has been charged.

Also, at the end of January, retired couple 75-year-old Minnie Taylor and 77-year-old Leon Taylor were found dead in their bedroom with gunshot wounds to the head. There is no suspect in their case, but authorities say they do have leads.

The suburban town is struggling with the recent slayings.

"I've never seen anything like this. All at once. Tinley Park had that horrific murder over a year ago, and women lost their lives. But these were all unrelated," Mayor Dwight Welch said.

He reacted earlier Sunday to news of the most recent death with disbelief.

"It's surreal. It's hard to believe. I left his room yesterday after a press conference, went home, had this wonderful task force working really hard on this, and I get a call around 10:20 that the paramedics were on their way to the hospital with another victim. I got to the hospital, and he died within moments of my arrival, and we started all over again," said Welch.

Many residents find the violence disturbing but not overwhelming. Authorities have tried to reassure them that the town is safe.

"It really just saddens me to see that people don't value life any more," said resident Pat Johnson.

Because the crimes were targeted, instead of random, Country Club Hills authorities do not plan to increase patrols throughout the neighborhoods. They say they will provide whatever counseling is needed and will extend those services to schools, if necessary.

Mayor Welch says he is planning a prayer vigil because, he says, he wants the town to heal.