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Man had ‘explosive breakup’ with woman he strangled Christmas morning: prosecutors

Jeffery Finely-Scott, 33, was denied bail Saturday on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 32-year-old Juanita Hankins.

Jeffery Finely-Scott was charged with killing Juanita Hankins on Christmas at the Beverly Motel and Suites in Brainerd.
Jeffery Finely-Scott was charged with killing Juanita Hankins on Christmas at the Beverly Motel and Suites in Brainerd.
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A man charged with strangling his ex-girlfriend on Christmas at a Brainerd motel room had an “explosive breakup” with her in the fall and posted sexual videos of her online a week before the attack, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Jeffery Finely-Scott, 33, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 32-year-old Juanita Hankins, prosecutors said at his initial hearing Saturday.

Judge David Navarro ordered him held without bail.

Finely-Scott suffered a self-inflicted injury hours after killing Hankins and did not appear at the hearing because he was still receiving treatment at University of Chicago Medical Center, according to a Chicago police officer who testified.

Prosecutors said Finely-Scott rented a room late Tuesday at the Beverly Motel and Suites, 1140 W. 95th St., and surveillance video showed Hankins arrive at his room and then leave a few minutes later.

Hankins returned to the room about 12:25 a.m. Wednesday, and Finely-Scott posted video to social media that showed them drinking in his motel room, prosecutors said.

At one point in the video, Hankins swallows a pill given to her by Finely-Scott, prosecutors said.

Sometime before 3:12 a.m., Finely-Scott heard Hankins try and access his phone, so he choked her and slammed her to the ground, before dragging her to the bathroom and getting on top of her, prosecutors said.

Finely-Scott strangled her then got into her car and drove away from the motel, prosecutors said.

He arrived at his cousin’s apartment about 5 a.m. but left after six minutes, prosecutors said. A few hours later, he returned to his cousin’s, covered in blood from a hit-and-run crash in the 6700 block of South South Shore Drive, prosecutors said.

The cousin left him at home with her husband for about an hour, and when she returned, Finely-Scott was bleeding from his side because he had stabbed himself with a knife he found at the apartment, prosecutors said.

The cousin called the paramedics, but Finely-Scott wouldn’t cooperate with first-responders, so police were called, prosecutors said. When Finely-Scott heard their sirens, he allegedly ran off from his cousin’s home.

Later that day, the cousin and her husband left their apartment and returned to find they couldn’t get back inside, prosecutors said. They found blood near the back door, so they called police.

Police arrived to find Finely-Scott barricaded inside the apartment and threatening to harm himself, and he was later taken into custody, prosecutors said.

While in police custody, Finely-Scott confessed to strangling Hankins, whose body was found by a hotel employee Wednesday morning, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Finely-Scott and Hankins had broken up last fall after dating through the summer and described the end of their relationship as “explosive.” However, the two continued to converse by text message. Prosecutors said Finely-Scott threatened to harm her in at least one of the messages.

Hankins had filed a police report Dec. 16 after Finely-Scott posted videos online without Hankins’ consent of her performing sexual acts, prosecutors said.

An assistant public defender said he had not had an opportunity to speak with Finely-Scott and could not offer any information on his behalf at the hearing.

Finely-Scott’s next court date was set for Dec. 30.