Community Leader Killed While Picking Up Christmas Dinner

Convicted felon charged with killing elderly man

By Christian Farr and Marcus Riley
|  Saturday, Dec 26, 2009  |  Updated 7:53 AM CDT
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A 79-year-old <a title=Hyde Park man is killed the day before Christmas." />

A 79-year-old Hyde Park man is killed the day before Christmas.

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A Hyde Park family is mourning the loss of a 79-year-old man who was robbed and killed on Christmas Eve.

Ralph Elliott, 79, of Hyde Park was picking up food from a Popeye's restaurant in the 800 block of E. 47th St. when he was attacked.

Police say 48-year-old Lee Cration of Joliet approached Elliott as he entered his car, shot him in the face and rummaged through the victim's pockets before fleeing from the scene.

Cration was arrested a short time later with a handgun in his possession and identified as the shooter by witnesses, police said.

The victim's wife of 54 years, Dolores Elliott, described her husband as a "gentle giant" who would not have fought back when confronted.

"If the man had said he was cold, he would have given him his coat. If he said he was hungry, he would have fed him. If he needed money, regardless of what he would have done with it, he would have given it to him," Dolores said.

Ralph Elliott was picking up food for a potluck dinner he and his wife had hosted for more than 50 years and both were very active in the community.

"To kill him straight on and shoot him in the face is needless, senseless brutality," Dolores said.

Cration was charged with first degree murder, attempted armed robbery and an outstanding warrant for parole violation.

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