Man charged in stabbing death of Whitney Young HS student with autism

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 31-year-old man, who lived on the same block where a Whitney Young High School student with special needs was fatally stabbed, was charged Thursday in the teen's murder.

Brandon Porter-Young was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2018, at his temporary apartment in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side.

Since early December 2017, Porter-Young had been living with his mother at the Jr Plaza Hotel II, 3001 W. Jackson Blvd., said Annie Harris, a hotel employee.

Porter-Young was found at the hotel around 10 p.m. with multiple stab wounds to his upper body, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:25 p.m.

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Faculty and students at Whitney Young High School on Monday were mourning the loss of a popular special needs student who was stabbed to death.

Porter-Young was diagnosed with autism as a child and his family doubts he would have spoken to anyone or opened the door.

"It's, like, high-functioning. You wouldn't know he had autism unless you talked with him, it takes him a while to respond," said Brian Porter, his brother.

Darryl Ray, of the 3000-block of West Jackson Boulevard, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder. DNA evidence positively identified him as the suspect in Porter-Young's stabbing death. He is due in Bond Court Friday.

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Students gathered to remember Tuesday to mourn and remember Brandon Porter-Young, who was found stabbed to death earlier this month.

Porter-Young was a handsome, quiet 18-year-old senior who loved playing basketball and gardening, according to a peer and members of the Whitney Young staff. Principal Joyce Dorsey Kenner recalled that he "always had a smile on his face."

Corryne Irvin, a special education teacher at Whitney Young, said Porter-Young's autism limited his verbal skills and he had a hard time communicating with people he didn't know.
"I was really shocked and it didn't really sink in until yesterday when I came to school and he wasn't here. When he didn't get off the bus," Irvin said in February.

Porter-Young was also involved in Whitney Young's popular Best Buddies program, which pairs special education students with other students from the school.

"He was a really sweet person," Porter-Young's Best Buddy partner Rowan Broderick said. Broderick, a freshman, said that she and Porter-Young often chatted in the school's cafeteria.

Rebecca Folkerts, the advisor for the Best Buddies program and Porter-Young's former teacher, remembered him as a responsible student with a "great sense of humor." Folkerts said the "extremely bright" Brandon was primed to get a job after graduating at the end of the school year.

"As tragically as Brandon died - it's really, really sad - my heart is warmed by the outpouring of support for this young man," Kenner said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report
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