Jury finds Sandra Kolalou guilty of murder, dismemberment of landlord Frances Walker in 2022

ByLeah Hope, Cate Cauguiran, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Tenant guilty of landlord's murder, dismemberment on Far North Side
A jury found Sandra Kolalou guilty of the murder and dismemberment of her landlord Frances Walker in 2022 on the Far North Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A jury found Sandra Kolalou guilty of the murder and dismemberment of her landlord Frances Walker in 2022.

Kolalou, who was a tenant of the boarding house owned by Walker, was charged with first-degree murder. A jury convicted her just before 9:30 p.m. Monday night.

She was also found guilty of one charge of dismembering a human body and one charge of aggravated identity theft.

As the verdict was read after a six-day trial and more than seven hours of deliberations, Kolalou remained stoic. Meanwhile, some of Walker's family in the courtroom got emotional, tearing up.

Walker rented rooms in her home on North Washtenaw Avenue, and prosecutors said after she was reported missing in October of 2022, they found her head, arms and legs in the freezer of the home but not her torso.

More evidence was found in a trash can on Foster Beach. Blood was also found in her bedroom and on knives, police said.

Walker's family wore pink in court Monday in her memory.

"She was very kind and she also believed in justice and she would stand up for what she believed in, and I think she is not as physically strong as she thought she was," said brother Arnold Walker.

"We miss Frank a lot. She is the person no one can say anything bad about at all," said sister Maggie Walker.

The jury got the case at about 2 p.m. Before they got the case, Kolalou told jurors she is being framed and when asked if she would hurt Walker, claimed "No, I would do anything for Fran."

In closing arguments, prosecutors reviewed the evidence and Kolalou's behavior after Walker went missing.

"We know that she murdered Fran Walker," said Assistant State's Attorney Gail Bembnister. "She is the one being evicted she was the one arguing with the defendant. She was the one with her DNA on the bag. She was the one with Walker's cards."

One of Kolalou's defense attorneys told jurors Walker's husband and another tenant had opportunity and motive to get rid of Walker. The defense alleges negligence and bias in the investigation, arguing, "They can't show that my client committed these crimes... that's because my client is innocence."

"It was hard for me to get through there when the defense was talking," Arnold Walker said.

Post-trial motions and sentencing are set for June 20. The defense plans to appeal the jury's decision.

The Walker family says they have found their closure, and can now begin healing.

Related coverage:

West Ridge landlord's remains found in apartment, at Foster Beach after reported missing

Woman charged with murder after Frances Walker's remains found in Far North Side freezer

No bail for Chicago woman charged with killing landlord found dismembered in freezer

Relatives say Chicago landlord tried multiple times to remove tenant now charged with her murder

Kolalou trial: Other renters testify they heard arguing night before landlord killed, dismembered