A man already serving a murder sentence has been charged with strangling a woman in 2000 at a motel in the Far South Side Roseland neighborhood.
Henry Sandifer, 58, was ordered held without bond on a first-degree murder charge Wednesday by Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil at the Cook County Courthouse.
Sandifer, who is serving a 60-year sentence for the 2008 murder of Linda Morgan, appeared in court wearing a black-and-white striped prison jumpsuit. Shaggy beard streaked with gray, Sandifer stood silent for the brief hearing, hands behind his back and clutching a thick manila envelope.
On Jan. 17, 2000, Angela Kirkling checked into the Royal Motel at 45 W. 103rd St. with another man at 9:20 a.m. and was scheduled to check out eight hours later, according to prosecutors.
Shortly after 6 p.m., after Kirkling didn’t check out, a hotel employee went to her room and found her lying unresponsive on the floor, prosecutors said. She was naked except for socks on her feet.
Kirkling, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene, prosecutors said. An autopsy found she was strangled.
The motel room was processed for evidence and a beer can was inventoried, prosecutors said. When the DNA from the beer can was run in CODIS, it matched Sandifer.
Kirkling’s underwear was also found in the hotel room and processed for DNA, prosecutors said. Sandifer could not be excluded as a match.
Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Carlson said DNA analysis techniques had improved since investigators first ran tests on evidence in the 2000 murder, and that Sandifer was only linked to the crime recently, after DNA samples from the case were re-tested in 2015 under a federal grant for cold cases.
In 2008, Morgan was last seen the night of Oct. 10, prosecutors said. Her family reported her missing, and she was found four days later by a sanitation worker, naked and tied up with suspenders in a garbage can in an alley. She had also been strangled.
Morgan was found three houses away from the house where Sandifer grew up, and where he was known to climb in and spend the night while it was being rehabbed after foreclosure, prosecutors said.
Sandifer’s DNA was found in Morgan, prosecutors said. When the results came back, Sandifer was arrested and denied knowing Morgan. When police confronted him with the DNA evidence, he still denied knowing her and claimed just because he had sex with her, didn’t mean he knew her.
He was acquitted of a sexual assault charge, but convicted of murder. In October 2016, an Illinois Appellate Court upheld the conviction after Sandifer’s attorney appealed, citing prosecution errors.
Carlson said Sandifer has had 12 prior felony convictions, including the murder.