Chicago man gets 29 years for murdering drug dealer over $1,400 debt

SHARE Chicago man gets 29 years for murdering drug dealer over $1,400 debt

A Chicago man has been sentenced to 29 years in prison for murdering a drug dealer to avoid paying off a $1,400 debt.

Otto Lee, 50, pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder for the 2009 killing of 33-year-old Michael Dabney, according to a statement from the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

In February 2009, Lee and his common law wife Willetta Ellis, 47, came up with a plan to murder Dabney, who regularly sold them drugs on credit, prosecutors said.

Ellis would pay Dabney the money he was due on the first of the month from the proceeds of her daughter’s disability checks, prosecutors said.

But after they accumulated $1,400 in debt, Ellis and Lee recruited her daughter’s boyfriend, Darvell Williams, to help carry out the murder, prosecutors said.

On Feb. 27, 2009, Dabney came to pick up his drug money and drove with the three to a bank, where Ellis had told him she would take out money to pay him, prosecutors said.

As they drove, Williams shot Dabney in the head and chest inside the vehicle, prosecutors said. After the shooting, Ellis walked home, and Lee and Williams dumped the body in the stairwell of an abandoned building.

Judge Thomas Hennelly sentenced Lee to 29 years in prison Monday, according to the statement.

Ellis previously pleaded guilty to a murder charge and was sentenced to 28 years in prison. Williams is awaiting trial.

Willetta Ellis | Illinois Department of Corrections

Willetta Ellis | Illinois Department of Corrections

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