Carla Williams said she got a feeling in the pit of her stomach when Chicago police called, asked if she was related to Andra Williams, but would only tell her why they wanted to talk to her in person.
On Sept. 1, the body of her 52-year-old, wheelchair-bound brother, with multiple stab wounds, was found dumped in a shopping cart in an alley behind the West Side two-flat where he rented a room.
“They didn’t find his ID he always wears around his neck, or his wheelchair,” said Carla Williams, one of his six siblings. “My mother’s devastated. Andra was the baby. He suffers from a degenerative bone disease afflicting men in my family, including my Dad and another brother. Whoever did this is a monster. My brother was disabled. He couldn’t run.”
A few days later, Arthur Hilliard, 51, who managed the building in the 700 block of South Campbell, was arrested and charged with concealing a homicide. Police said surveillance video showed Hilliard wheeling the body from the building.
At Hilliard’s first court hearing Sept. 5, Cook County Criminal Court Judge David Navarro ordered him held without bail since he was hospitalized and not at the hearing.
Two families outraged
But since the initial charge is considered a lesser felony potentially punishable by probation, on Sept. 24, Cook County Judge John Lyke lowered his bond to $50,000, with electronic monitoring. That meant Hilliard, who lives in Woodlawn, could be released by posting 10 percent, or $5,000; however, he remained in custody Thursday night.
That has left two families outraged: the Williams family, and the family of Diamond Turner, a 21-year-old woman whose body was found half naked and brutally beaten in a South Side dumpster on March 3, 2017.
“We didn’t understand why he wasn’t charged with murdering my brother, when there’s video. We were determined to be at every court hearing, and it was after the first hearing that we found out about Diamond Turner,” Carla Williams said.
The Williams and Turner families believe the same man is responsible for the murders of their loved ones.
Turner’s body was discovered by garbage collectors, in an alley at 73rd and South Kenwood. An autopsy showed she was asphyxiated, and suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
Diamond Turner’s aunt, Latonya Turner, said her niece was last seen leaving Red’s Lounge, at 69th & Stony Island, with Hilliard. Hilliard later told the family and police that she left his home with someone else, Latonya Turner said. For days after her niece’s disappearance, Hilliard, who then lived across the street from them in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, kept coming over asking if the woman had made it home, family members said.
‘We were shocked nothing ever happened’
“After her body was found, he immediately moved away, then kept texting us obsessively, insisting he had nothing to do with her disappearance, then asked us to meet him in a vacant lot and he would tell us who killed her,” said Latonya Turner.
She and community activist Andrew Holmes recorded that meeting with Hilliard, and later took the tape to police.
In the recording, he can be heard “describing every detail of her murder, including the location of the sledgehammer she was beaten with, and saying his roommate did it,” she said. ” … We were shocked nothing ever happened.”
A Chicago Police spokeswoman said Thursday night that the Turner case remains “an open and active homicide investigation.”
Hilliard, in a November 2017 interview with ABC7, denied killing Turner and continued to insist his roommate was responsible. The roommate, however, denied that and blamed Hilliard.
Cook County prosecutors declined to comment on either case.
After the two families met, they both showed up at the Monday hearing and left aghast when Hilliard was given bail.
“There’s no way he should have bond. He knew too much about my niece’s murder, to the detail. If police had seriously investigated him in that case, he wouldn’t have been able to kill someone else’s loved one,” said Latonya Turner. More recently, however, a new detective has seemed to take a stronger interest in the case, she said
Both she and Carla Williams and their families will be at a hearing at noon Friday when Hilliard will be back in court.
“This is a travesty, an absolute travesty. That man needs to be charged with my brother’s murder, and they need to re-open the Diamond Turner case. The police and prosecutors need to do better,” said Williams.