Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Three Women Stabbed To Death In Chicago Home

Three Women Stabbed To Death In Chicago Home
Re-printed from a story at WCPO Channel 9 on January 18th 2011
Accused Murderer Denzel PittmanAn 18-year-old suspect in the murders of his girlfriend, her mother and younger sister nervously licked his lips in a Cook County courtroom today as prosecutors described how an argument turned violent Monday night.

Denzel Pittman, 18, beat and strangled the girlfriend, Jade Hannah, 17, just outside her apartment, then pulled out a knife and stabbed her 11 times as she screamed for help, prosecutors said.

When her mother, Stacy Cochran-Hill, came to the door, Pittman attacked her, stabbing her 15 times, then moved into the apartment and stabbed 11-year-old Joi in the head and chest, Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Santini said in court.

Witnesses who came to the aid of the victims saw Pittman fleeing on foot and covered in blood then called police, Santini said. Officers arrested him after a brief chase not far from the murder scene, he said. Police found a bloodstained jacket, he said.

As deputies led Pittman from the courtroom after Circuit Judge Ramon Ocasio III ordered him held without bail, a spectator in the gallery leaped from his seat in apparent anger and shouted at Pittman. The victims' relatives pulled the man - a friend of Cochran-Hill - back to his seat as sheriff's deputies jumped toward him. As the man wept in the arms of a friend, a burly deputy who had grabbed his arm released his grip and gently patted his shoulder in apparent sympathy.

The Hannahs
Jade Hannah, 17, her mother Stacy Cochran-Hill and 11-year-old Joi Hannah killed by multiple stab wounds.

Authorities did not say what triggered the fatal attack, but Pittman had a troubled relationship with Jade, according to police reports and Pittman's own public defender said in court that his client's family had a history of mental health problems.

Prior to these murders, Pittamn was charged with domestic battery for beating Jade Hannah at his Park Forest home in March, according to Park Forest police records. A verbal confrontation turned physical when Pittman grabbed her arms to prevent her from leaving, according to an arrest report. When she called him names, he pushed and slapped her, the report said.

Officers arrived and broke up the struggle in March. Police said Jade suffered a small scratch on her throat and there was a hand impression on the right side of her face.

Three months later, in June, Pittman was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon from an incident this year in which he allegedly threatened people with a gun at an aqua center in Park Forest and was shot by officers after refusing to drop the weapon. Pittman was shot in the hip by Park Forest police after he refused to drop a gun, police said and was free on bond on that case at the time of Monday's triple murder.

Chicago Breaking News, Prosecutors detail slayings of mom, 2 daughters
Black Legal Issues, Triple-homicide suspect denied bond