Jury selection begins for trial of tenant accused of dismembering North Side landlord

Opening statements expected Tuesday

Sarah Schulte Image
Monday, April 15, 2024
Opening statements expected Tuesday for tenant accused of dismembering landlord
Jury selection began for the Sandra Kolalou Chicago murder trial. The tenant was accused of dismembering her landlord, Frances Walker, in West Ridge.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Jury selection began Monday in the trial of the woman accused of killing and dismembering her landlord on the Far North Side in 2022.

Sandra Kolalou is charged with first-degree murder in the incident.

In October of 2022, Frances Walker's body was found in a freezer at a West Ridge home. More evidence was found in a trash can on Foster Beach.

Blood was also found in her bedroom and on knives, police said.

WATCH: Driver feared for life as he drove woman police say killed landlord

A tow truck driver said he feared for his life as he drove Sandra Kolalou, who is charged with killing landlord Frances Walker, found in a freezer.

The 69-year-old landlord had been reported missing from her boarding house before a well-being check led to police discovering her remains.

Prosecutors said Kolalou was upset that Walker had placed an eviction notice on her door.

Relatives previously said Walker tried to remove the tenant accused of her murder many times.

"DNA evidence will be an issue that will be discussed during the trial, and there's going to be a lot of information that's going to come out that will be very important," defense attorney Sean Brown said.

Kolalou's defense team plans to focus on other people that lived in Walker's boarding house in the 5900-block of North Washtenaw Avenue.

"You're in a house where a dead body comes up: Everybody in that house is a suspect. So what we intend to show the jury is that you have to look at everybody in the house," Brown said.

The defense claims Kolalou was immediately accused without an investigation into possible other suspects.

Neighbors said Walker was active in the neighborhood, was kind and spent a lot of time with her dog. They said she offered shelter to women in need and played piano at two local churches. They were in shock someone would do something like this to her.

A jury of 12 was seated Monday. Two alternates will be chosen Tuesday morning, followed by opening statements, in which prosecutors will likely present some gruesome details.

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