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82-year sentence for man convicted of attacking 82-year-old woman nearly three decades ago

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By Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune

A man described by prosecutors as a “menace” who preyed on innocent victims was sentenced to 82 years in prison Friday for beating an elderly woman to death nearly 30 years ago.

Prentice Phillips, 53, was charged with murder five years ago after DNA evidence linked him to the slaying of Margaret Blair in July 1988, according to Cook County, Ill. prosecutors. He was convicted in December 2017.

“This man is a menace,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kimellen Chamberlain told Judge Michael McHale at a sentencing hearing Friday. “He is preying on innocent victims, the people who cannot protect themselves.”

Noting that the victim was an 82-year-old woman, McHale said, “I’ve given this a lot of thought. The sentence will be 82 years.”

When Phillips was charged in 2013, prosecutors said the victim was 81. But more recent court filings give her age as 82.

Prentice Phillips, 48, has been charged in the 1988
murder of 82-year-old Margaret Blair.



The attack took place about 3 a.m. on July 11, 1988, when Phillips, then 23, knocked on the window of Blair’s basement apartment in the 7200 block of North Sheridan Road in Rogers Park. He tried to get into the home by telling her there was a prowler in the area, prosecutors said.

Blair would not let Phillips into her apartment, so he kicked her door open, hitting her in the face, prosecutors said. Blair fell to the floor and Phillips covered her mouth with his hand and raped her, prosecutors said. Phillips then took cash from Blair’s purse and left.

Blair died a few days later. An autopsy found that she died from multiple injuries, including to the arms and neck, internal injuries to the right chest, and a fractured right rib.

In 2013, investigators sent DNA evidence from the attack to the state police crime lab, using a cold-case grant. It was matched to Phillips, prosecutors said.

Phillips had little to say before he was sentenced Friday.

“I’m sorry for these accusations that have been said about me,” he said, standing in the courtroom. “That’s all.”

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: 82-year sentence for man convicted of attacking 82-year-old woman nearly three decades ago
82-year sentence for man convicted of attacking 82-year-old woman nearly three decades ago
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