Third man charged with fatal Albany Park home invasion

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Ioan Lela Jr. | Chicago Police

A third man has been charged with beating a 71-year-old man to death during a home invasion in the Northwest Side Albany Park neighborhood in January.

Ioan Lela Jr., 34, of Phoenix, Arizona, faces one count of first-degree murder for the death of 71-year-old Allen R. Levin, according to Chicago Police. He was arrested Feb. 18 in Phoenix and extradited to Chicago on Sunday.

Elijah Timatyos, 23; and Michael Bembea, 24, were previously charged with first-degree murder, home invasion causing great bodily harm and burglary, authorities said.

Levin was a family friend of Bembea and had provided financial assistance to Bembea’s family in the past, prosecutors said. In the days before the murder, Bembea and Lela discussed robbing Levin because of their own money problems.

Bembea and Lela drove a white Honda Civic from Phoenix, where they were living, to Chicago, prosecutors said. During the trip, the Civic was stopped by police in Wheeler County, Texas, for a traffic violation, prosecutors said. The stop was recorded on surveillance video.

When they arrived in Chicago, Bembea and Lela stayed with a friend and once again discussed robbing Levin. Between Jan. 24 and Jan. 25, Bembea, Timatyos and Lela drove to Levin’s home in the 4800 block of North Ridgeway. Surveillance video caught the Civic circling the block, prosecutors said.

Bembea forced open the rear door of Levin’s home and pushed the victim down the stairs before letting Timatyos and Lela inside, prosecutors said. They heard Levin fall down the stairs and heard him ask why Bembea was doing this to him.

One of the men then covered Levin’s mouth and tried to suffocate him, prosecutors said. Bembea stomped on Levin’s back, severing his spine, and another man kicked him in the head.

After the attack, they tried to clean up the blood and their fingerprints, and wrapped Levin’s body in a blanket, prosecutors said.

They went through the house, taking coins, cash and jewelry, prosecutors said. They left and rented a room at a motel on Lincoln Avenue, then bought cannabis and cocaine before driving back to Phoenix the next day.

About 2 p.m. Jan. 27, police conducted a well-being check at Levin’s home and found him lying on the dining room floor, wrapped in the blanket, prosecutors said. He had a large footprint on his back.

An autopsy found he died of multiple injuries suffered in the assault and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Lela was ordered held without bond in court Monday. He is next scheduled to appear in court April 4.

Bembea and Tamtyos were arrested in Phoenix on Feb. 4, authorities said. Both are being held without bond at the Cook County Jail. Bembea is next scheduled to appear in court March 28, and Timatyos is scheduled to appear March 29. 

Elijah Timatyos (left) and Michael Bembea | Cook County sheriff’s office

Elijah Timatyos (left) and Michael Bembea | Cook County sheriff’s office

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