A man and woman have been charged with murder in the death of a man who was allegedly beaten with a baseball bat during a robbery last year at a motel in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.
Joseph Naseef, 32, and 30-year-old Nicole Morris, are each facing a count of first-degree murder in the death of 34-year-old Devin Matloff, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Matloff suffered fatal injuries in a beating on New Year’s Eve and died May 2, according to prosecutors and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. His cause of death was later determined to be from blunt force injuries to his head and his death was ruled a homicide.
Both Naseef and Morris had already by indicted on attempted murder charges and were being held without bail in the case, prosecutors said.
Morris, of Freeport, appeared Wednesday, and Naseef, of the Ravenswood neighborhood, appeared Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for new bail hearings on the murder charges.
On the day of the attack, Morris and Matloff, who were involved in a relationship, were in a room that Morris had rented for them at the Apache Motel at 5535 N. Lincoln Ave., Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Crone said.
Morris had informed Naseef that Matloff was in possession of money and narcotics and they plotted to rob Matloff together, Crone said. At least some of the planning of the robbery took place over text messages and via phone calls between the two, Crone said.
As planned, Naseef arrived at the motel room with a metal baseball bat while Matloff was asleep, Crone said. After Morris let him into the room, Naseef attacked Matloff with the bat and bound his hands with tape. After binding Matloff, Naseef hit him at least once more with the bat, Crone said.
Morris and Naseef then stole Matloff’s cellphone, wallet, laptop computer and the drugs, Crone said. Some of the items were put into Matloff’s backpack.
Surveillance video at the motel recorded Morris and Matloff several times between Dec. 29 and Dec. 31, Crone said. The last time Matloff was recorded entering the room was the early morning hours of Dec. 31. Naseef was recorded entering the room at 7:39 p.m. Dec. 31 and both Morris and Naseef were recorded leaving the room about six minutes later, with Morris carrying the backpack and Naseef carrying “the same large item as when he entered.”
Matloff, of the Lake View neighborhood, was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center after the attack and underwent brain surgery, but never regained consciousness, Crone said.
A metal baseball bat and a backpack matching the description of Matloff’s were recovered in Naseef’s vehicle when investigators executed a search warrant, Crone said. After being taken into custody, Morris admitted in a videotaped interview to planning the robbery with Naseef and to seeing Naseef beat Matloff, Crone said.
Morris and Naseef were taken into custody in January, Crone said. Both were indicted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and aggravated battery on Feb. 1.
Their next court date is scheduled for July 27 in that case, according to court records.
At Morris’ hearing Wednesday, her court-appointed public defender said she had lived a difficult life, including growing up with a schizophrenic mother and a father who was in jail. Her attorney said she also had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Judge David Navarro ordered Morris held without bail.
At Naseef’s hearing Thursday, his attorney disputed the state’s assertion that he was the person seen on the surveillance recordings and said none of the items allegedly stolen in the robbery were found in the search of his vehicle.
Judge Michael Clancy ordered Naseef held without bail.
Both will appear next in the case on July 25.