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Man charged in stabbing death of autistic Whitney Young student at W. Side hotel

| Sun-Times/Justin Jackson; provided

A 31-year-old man has been charged with stabbing a popular special needs student at Whitney Young High School to death nearly a year ago in East Garfield Park.

Darryl Ray, also of East Garfield Park, has been charged with first-degree murder after DNA evidence linked him to the death of Brandon Porter-Young in February 2018, according to Chicago police.

Ray was expected to appear for a bail hearing Friday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Around 10 p.m. last Feb. 2, Porter-Young was found with multiple stab wounds to his upper body in a room at the Jr Plaza Hotel II, 3001 W. Jackson Blvd., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Porter-Young, 18, had been living in the room with his mother, who worked for the hotel, another employee said.

Porter-Young had been diagnosed with autism and had limited verbal skills, Whitney Young Principal Joyce Dorsey Kenner told the Sun-Times last year. Rebecca Folkerts, the adviser for the Best Buddies program Porter-Young participated in, said the “extremely bright” Brandon was primed to get a job after graduating at the end of the school year.

Staff and students remembered Porter-Young for his ever-present smile and his love of basketball and gardening.

Ray has a lengthy criminal history, records show, including three separate convictions for battery a police officer. He was convicted of a 2005 charge of aggravated battery to a police officer and was given probation, only to be convicted again of the same charge in 2009 and sentenced to prison.

Just two months after Ray allegedly stabbed Porter-Young, court records show he pleaded not guilty in April to charges of aggravated battery to a police officer and robbery in two separate cases. Two months after that, he pleaded guilty in May to both charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Ray was admitted to Menard Correctional Center in downstate Menard on May 25 and had an expected parole date of February 2024, according to state records.

He was booked into the Cook County Jail on Monday and was being held for his initial court appearance on the murder charge Friday in Branch 66, the Cook County sheriff’s office said.