Marcus Dee left a diary behind in the safe under his bed, his sister said.
It was full of love poems.
Dee wrote some. But mostly, they were penned by Nadia Ezaldein. And she was “brilliant,” Candice Dee said.
In the composition notebook to the man who would one day violently take her life before taking his own, Ezaldein wrote, “a ring can’t define us.”
“Nadia and Marcus were together,” Candice Dee said. “And they were very, very much in love.”
With those comments, Candice Dee broke her family’s silence Monday. She spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times three days after police said Marcus Dee, 31, walked into the Michigan Avenue Nordstrom on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, fatally shot 22-year-old Ezaldein and took his own life. It was Ezaldein’s birthday.
Immediately after the shooting, Ezaldein’s family said Dee had subjected the University of Chicago student to “months and months of psychological torment” before killing her. Ezaldein’s sister accused Marcus Dee of cracking Ezaldein’s ribs, breaking her jaw and putting a gun in her mouth in court records that became available Monday.
But all of that clashed with Candice Dee’s loving description of her brother, the man she said was “caring” and “wonderful” and had “one of the biggest hearts you’ve ever seen.”
Ezaldein’s family has said the couple split in December 2013, but Candice Dee insisted their final breakup came only two weeks ago.
She acknowledged that her brother had a temper. She said Ezaldein’s father stood in the way of the couple’s relationship.
And in the end, Candice Dee said Ezaldein had “done some things” to push him away that Marcus Dee couldn’t accept.
She wouldn’t elaborate on the details of her brother’s final days.
“They were, I guess, soul mates,” Candice Dee said of the couple. “She read him. She understood him. But she couldn’t make certain parts of him better. He couldn’t be good enough for her parents. She knew that. And it ruined him. And it ruined them.”
Candice Dee acknowledged the mother and stepfather who raised them are Chicago police officers. But Supt. Garry McCarthy told reporters Monday that didn’t stop Ezaldein from telling authorities about Marcus Dee’s alleged abuse.
“There was actually an incident the week before,” McCarthy said. “And we’re looking into the circumstances of that incident. So whoever’s saying that she was afraid to come forward, she did come forward.”
McCarthy didn’t elaborate, but a police source said Marcus Dee was accused of punching a male acquaintance of Ezaldein’s on Nov. 22. McCarthy said investigators are now looking into the background of Marcus Dee, who he said had a valid FOID card “at one time.” A source also said the gun used in the shooting was not a police service weapon.
Meanwhile, court records show Marcus Dee and Ezaldein’s sister traded violent allegations in April as each sought a no-contact order against the other.
In his, Marcus Dee claimed Ezaldein’s sister threatened to come to Chicago and have him arrested. He said she threatened to take out a restraining order against him “to get me kicked out of the Army.”
He said she threatened to have her brother kill him, and he said she told him in a voicemail he’s “a dead mother – – – – – -.” The petition was denied by Cook County Judge Cynthia Ramirez.
The next day, Ezaldein’s sister filed her own petition accusing Marcus Dee of dealing drugs and weapons. She said he threatened to send private photos and videos to her father and brother. She said he called her a whore, spit in her face, threatened to kill her and smashed Ezaldein’s phone.
Finally, she said Marcus Dee cracked Ezaldein’s ribs, broke her jaw, ripped her clothing, tore her jacket with a switch knife, ripped her boots, bruised her lip, threw her clothing out a window and put a gun in her mouth.
Cook County Judge Caroline Kate Moreland denied the sister’s petition.
Despite the court filings, Candice Dee said her brother and Ezaldein rarely fought. When they did, “it was bad.”
“I know it’s a really ugly situation,” she said. “But they loved each other so much.”
Mostly, she said they laughed and hung out. And she said their best friend was Candice Dee’s 9-year-old daughter.
Ezaldein called the little girl the couple’s “happy place,” Candice Dee said.
Then, before Marcus Dee left his sister’s sight for the final time, he told his sister “you’re the only thing I’ve ever had.”
When she wanted to see him, he told her she could look into her daughter’s eyes.
“Because I live through her,” he said.
Contributing: Stefano Esposito