Man Charged in 2002 Bedford Park Cold Case

Jennifer Boyd was working as a manager at a Public Storage facility on Aug. 3, 2002 when she was attacked in an empty unit

A former Oak Lawn resident was arrested Wednesday on first-degree murder charges as he walked out of prison to start probation for an unrelated conviction.

Steven Podkulski, 40, was ordered held in lieu of $3 million bail during a very brief court appearance in Bridgeview in connection with the 2002 cold case murder of Jennifer Boyd.

"We were all hoping from Day One that this would happen," Boyd's mother, Susan Boyd, said as she walked into court. "But the longer it got the less likely I thought that it would ever come."

"Hopefully this is a start to the end," she added.

Podkulski and his attorney, Colleen McSweeney-Moore, declined to comment on the new charges.

Jennifer Boyd was working as a manager of the Public Storage, on the 6900 block of West 79th Street, in the Chicago suburb of Bedford Park, when she was stabbed multiple times in an empty unit and left to die. She was 27 years old.

Boyd's sister, Rebecca Hernandez, held a memorial balloon launch on the last Aug. 3 anniversary of her sister's death to call attention to the case and "to celebrate her life."

Officials from the Bedford Park Police Department and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force said they investigated Boyd's death for more than a year and a half before leads in the case went cold in late 2004. The case was reopened eight years later, and subsequent interviews with those questioned a decade earlier turned up new leads, police said.  Those leads pointed them to Podkulski, who until Tuesday was serving time in Statesville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.

His rap sheet from the Illinois Department of Corrections includes convictions for burglary, theft, and weapons violations.

Boyd's relatives vowed to be in court every day to see Podkulski face justice, even if it meant walking to the courthouse.

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