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Man beheaded corpse inside South Shore apartment where handsaw was found, prosecutors say

Officers found Kimiko Armstrong’s headless body in a hallway inside the apartment wrapped in plastic and bedding.

Cook County Criminal Courts, 2601 S. California Blvd.
The Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
Sun-Times file

A man has been charged with decapitating the corpse of a woman whose body was discovered inside a South Shore apartment last summer.

Kimiko Armstrong’s headless body was found wrapped in plastic and bedding when Chicago police officers conducted a wellbeing check July 23 at an apartment in the 7400 block of South Chappel Avenue, Cook County prosecutors said in court Thursday.

It remains unclear exactly how Armstrong, 61, died, prosecutors said.

Narcotics were found in Armstrong’s body, which had been decomposing inside the home, but no obvious trauma was discovered, prosecutors said.

The decapitation likely took place after her death, according to officials.

Armstrong’s head was later found in the home’s kitchen, prosecutors said.

While the officers were at the home, 49-year-old Eric Bryant allegedly appeared from the kitchen, ran out of the apartment and could not be located by the officers.

A handsaw was found in a bedroom, along with documents in Bryant’s name, including tax and medical records, prosecutors said.

Eric Bryant arrest photo
Eric Bryant
Chicago police

Bryant was located Tuesday when officers responding to a burglary call in the 6700 block of South Rhodes spotted him in an alley and learned he was wanted on an outstanding warrant, prosecutors said.

In an interview with detectives, Bryant denied killing Armstrong, but allegedly admitted to removing her head after she died and seeking to dispose of the body.

He was subsequently charged with a felony count of dismembering a human body.

Bryant has 12 prior felony convictions, mostly for burglary, records show.

“Your honor, this is a case where no actual live person was harmed. ... A corpse is not a live person,” an assistant public defender for Bryant said after prosecutors asked that he be held without bail.

Bryant, his attorney said, did not have any money to post for bond and earned his living mainly by working at scrap yards.

Judge Charles Beach noted that Bryant had no crimes of violence in his background and that he was not accused of harming Armstrong.

But, the judge added, “The seriousness of this act, the sanctity of the human body ... all give me pause to whether you’re a threat to the community, and I believe you are.

“At this time, sir, you will be held without bail,” the judge added.

Bryant was expected back in court Jan. 4.