Accused Killer Slept on Trash-Strewn Floor

John Wilson, a 38-year-old parolee, is charged with stabbing death of 14-year-old Kelli O'Laughlin

The grandmother of a 38-year-old parolee charged in the stabbing death of an Indian Head Park teen said she wants prosecutors to show him no leniency.

"If he did it, throw the book at him," Ruthie Dantzler said Friday.

Dantzler said she owns the apartment building on the 7900 block of South Lafayette Avenue where 38-year-old John Wilson kept his belongings and where, for the last two or three weeks, she said he slept on the floor of a trash-strewn room.

Investigators executed a search warrant on that room Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The paperwork gave them the authority to search and seize "any and all forensic, latent or patent items of evidentiary value," including fingerprints, bodily fluids and hair.

The order also had them on the lookout for cell phones, an iPod, coin currency from India and China, Sacagawea coins and backpacks.

In detailing the charges, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Wilson hailed a cab and hitched a ride to the Orange Line stop at Midway International Airport after killing Kelli O'Laughlin last Thursday. He paid with various coins stolen from the victim's home, she said.

Dantzler gave NBC Chicago access to the 10-foot by 10-foot room with wooden floors and a single closet. She showed where investigators removed the drain trap from the bottom of a laundry sink and the lint screen from the clothes dryer. She said they also took the quilt Wilson used to sleep and several bags of his personal items.

Dantzler said she was trying to give her grandson -- a man whose father is dead and whose mother has been absent for years -- a break. She called him a "gentleman," but said he deserves what he gets.

Wilson has been in and out of Illinois' criminal justice system for nearly two decades. He has six previous convictions, records show, for carjacking, spitting on a prison corrections officer, possessing a stolen vehicle, robbery and drug possession.

He was on parole -- released from prison Nov. 16, 2010 after serving eight years of an 11-year sentence for the robbery conviction -- when O'Laughlin was violently stabbed in her home.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Wilson had been "compliant" on his parole.

Dantzler said she last saw Wilson on Wednesday morning, about a day and a half before the Cook County State's Attorney's Office charged him with residential burglary and first-degree murder.

Though she said she never saw a check stub, Dantzler said her grandson told her he worked downtown.

"He get up at 5:30, leave and come back at 4 or 5 [o'clock].  He don't go out no more," said Dantzler.
"He come in the evening, wash his clothes, and go to bed. He was a gentleman, as far I know."

Outside the apartment building, Shaun Dantzler said his younger brother was working, as a janitor, the day O'Laughlin was killed.

"I don't think he did that, but if he did, Oh my God. I can't believe it," he said.

He claimed his brother didn't get the proper rehabilitation he needed during his years in and out of prison.

"My little brother is crazy. I told the judge this in Skokie. I told him this already. My little brother has a serious problem," he said.

O'Laughlin's funeral was Friday morning at St. John of the Cross church in Western Springs.

A judge denied bond for Wilson. He's due back in court Nov. 28.

John Wilson wrapped himself in a quilt and slept on a floor littered with clothes and trash, his grandmother said.
Investigators removed the drain pipe from a utility sink and the lint trap from a clothes dryer.

Wilson Spent 17 of Last 20 Years in Prison

John L. Wilson spent 17 of the last 20 years in prison, and had been on parole for just 11-1/2 months before his Wednesday arrest in the stabbing death of 14-year-old Kelli O’Laughlin, according to court and Illinois Department of Corrections records.

1991: In January, police spot Wilson dealing drugs and chase him, finding a total of 5 grams of heroin in several bags on him. Then in February, police who stop Wilson on Chicago’s South Side for traffic offenses discover the car he’s driving is stolen. They arrest him after a brief chase. He’s sentenced in August to a total of five years in prison.

1993: Wilson paroles out of prison in February. In June, he’s found at his home with eight packets of cocaine. While out on bond in November, he forces his way into the driver’s side of a car by pointing a gun at the driver’s head on Chicago’s South Side. He’s spotted a few hours later by police and crashes the car. While running from police, he drops his coat with the gun in it.

1994: In May he’s sentenced to a total of eight years for both the drug and carjacking cases. He’s sent to prison in June.

2001: While in prison in Downstate Pontiac, Wilson is charged and sentenced for aggravated battery of a prison guard. He paroles out in May but is sent back to prison July 19 for an apparent parole violation, though corrections officials couldn’t say exactly why Friday.

2002: Paroles out in June. In August, he steals the purse of a woman who tries to help him after he rams her car with his bike. As she’s going to give him money and bandages, he grabs her throat and her purse.

2003: Sentenced in May to 11 years in prison for unlawful vehicular invasion.

2010: Released on parole Nov. 16.

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