An Englewood couple serving as caretakers to a 43-year-old schizophrenic man are accused of beating and torturing him with the help of a friend before the victim’s battered body was found in a garage.
Chicago police officers, who were responding to a well-being check, found the lifeless body of Frederick Johnson in the 900 block of West 71st Street on June 25.
Santino Carter, Dominique Beck, and Brian Gray — a man the couple allegedly hired to help with the crime — have all been charged with murder.
Beck, 29, additionally faces a count of neglect as a caregiver.
Johnson had been living with Carter, 38, and Beck in their home for about two years, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday, adding that the couple collected Johnson’s disability checks to serve as his caretakers.
After Johnson was found dead, the couple allegedly told investigators that they had kicked him out of the home two weeks earlier for defecating in their home, in the 6900 block of South Peoria Street.
It wasn’t until nearly two months later when a witness came forward and told investigators about Johnson’s horrific final hours, prosecutors said.
That witness was in Carter’s car on June 24 when Beck called him to say that Johnson had defecated in the living room and bathroom and pushed her when she confronted him, prosecutors said.
The witness and Carter then drove to the couple’s home where the witness saw Carter punish Johnson by making him stand in the living room while touching his toes for several hours, prosecutors said. Carter allegedly beat Johnson with a wooden stick and metal chain if he refused to comply.
Later that evening, the witness allegedly saw Carter pick up a hammer and go into the room where Johnson was. The witness then heard the sounds of the hammer striking something and Johnson moaning in pain, prosecutors said.
The witness eventually fell asleep, but awoke later when Carter called Gray, 48, to the home to help him wash Johnson and change his clothes, prosecutors said. Gray allegedly helped Carter clean up blood throughout the home and also dragged Johnson to different areas of the home when he could no longer stand on his own, prosecutors said.
Carter also pulled out a gun and pointed it at Johnson, but Gray talked him into putting it away, prosecutors said.
The witness was later told by Carter that he and Gray took Johnson to the alley where they left him and called 911, prosecutors said. Carter allegedly reminded the witness to stick to their story about not seeing Johnson for several weeks.
Gray later told investigators that Carter had told him that Johnson had exposed himself to Carter’s children and that Johnson was still alive when they called 911 after leaving him in the alley, prosecutors said. He allegedly said he was paid $100 to help clean up.
Phone records, Johnson’s autopsy and a search of the house corroborated the information, prosecutors said.
Beck also admitted to punishing Johnson on other occasions, including making him drink toilet water and forcing him to do squats while holding large books for hours, prosecutors said. Beck allegedly further implicated Gray in the murder, saying he had also participated in beating Johnson.
The three suspects were taken into custody Sunday, prosecutors said.
“This was a violent and cruel death that this victim suffered,” Judge John F. Lyke said of the accusations, which he further described as “evil on a whole other level.”
Lyke ordered Carter and Gray held without bail. Beck was ordered held on $1 million bail.
The three defendants are expected back in court Dec. 14.