William Strickland was named after his grandfather and lived with the elderly man on the South Side. But the young man was under the influence of another senior citizen living in the home, his grandmother.
When she suggested that he should kill off his grandfather so they could spend his money, the younger William Strickland pulled the trigger, Cook County prosecutors said.
William Strickland, 22, was found guilty of his grandfather’s murder after a jury deliberated for 2 1/2 hours Thursday night at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
The bench trial of 67-year-old Janet Strickland, who is alleged to have coaxed the young William Strickland to shoot, also took place before Judge James Linn this week. But her trial was continued to March 21.
Assistant Public Defender Christopher Anderson said his client was out escorting his girlfriend and her friend at a party “way up north” when Janet Strickland got a man nicknamed “Black” to shoot her husband of nearly 30 years.
However, prosecutors said once “Black” backed out of the plan through a sudden moral awakening or “sheer laziness,” William Strickland stepped up to the plate to fulfill his grandmother’s deadly request on March 2, 2013.
The 72-year-old grandfather was gunned down as he made his way outside his home in the 400 block of East 95th Street to catch a ride for his weekend dialysis appointment about 3:30 a.m. that morning.
Only someone close to the older William Strickland would know his routine, Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Poje said in his closing arguments.
“This was the epitome of an inside job,” Poje said.
The younger William Strickland used his grandfather’s gun to shoot the senior citizen multiple times in the back.
“Our families are supposed to be a lifelong source of unconditional love and support,” Poje said.
After he killed his grandfather, he spent the elder’s money to buy a car, a cellphone and some tattoos.
“He did it for nothing more than greed. It wasn’t enough that he had a roof over his head,” Poje said.
Prosecutor Christa Bowden reminded jurors that even if the younger William Strickland only solicited his grandfather’s death, he would be guilty of murder.
The grandfather “thought he had a family to rely on in his golden years,” Bowden said. “Instead he got six bullets.”
The younger William Strickland faces 20 to 60 years in prison.