The family of 21-year-old Diamond Turner has waited nearly three years for an arrest in her death, and that wait finally ended with the arrest of 52-year-old Arthur Hilliard this week.
“I’m glad he’s in jail and he’s fittin’ to get what he deserves,” Turner’s aunt LaTonya said. “It’s a blessing that they got him and he’s in jail now and I hope he never gets a chance to come out and hurt anybody else.”
Hilliard made his first court appearance in front of a Cook County judge Thursday, as he faces first degree murder charges in Turner’s death.
In March of 2017, prosecutors say Hilliard was dating Turner when he killed the 21-year-old old, dumping her body into a trash can near 73rd Street and South Kenwood.
“The victim’s body was found by sanitation employees, partially naked and face down in a city of Chicago garbage can in an alley behind her apartment,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
Police say Hilliard was always their primary suspect, but say a DNA testing delay was the reason it took so long to file charges.
“We don’t always have the full ability, as in some police departments, to analyze our own DNA, so we have to rely on the state as soon as the DNA came back, the warrant was served,” CPD Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck said.
During that wait on DNA testing, prosecutors say Hilliard may have killed someone else in 2019, and is currently being investigated in connection to the stabbing death of 52-year-old Andra Williams in 2018.
“If they would have locked him up when they told him that Diamond had gotten killed, he wouldn’t have had a chance to hurt my brother,” Andra’s sister Shawndra said.
While Turner’s family is happy that her alleged killer is behind bars, they are calling on the state of Illinois to step up its efforts to clear backlogs in testing of DNA.
“They need to hurry up and get a better system with their DNA, because it shouldn’t take three years for him to be charged,” LaTonya Turner said.