Prosecutors on Friday said a West Rogers Park man beat his roommate to death in their home and then concealed the murder by covering the victim’s body with coffee grounds, pet deodorizer, chemicals, and a tarp — until a neighbor called police last week to report the “smell of death.”
Anton Urbikas, 34, was ordered held without bail on a charge of first-degree murder by Judge Arthur Willis. Both the prosecutor and defense attorney agreed that Urbikas has mental health conditions.
Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Urbikas and the victim, 49-year-old Mark Criddell, were squatting in an apartment on the 6400 block of North Sacramento since December, but the landlord could not evict them due to emergency housing laws enacted during COVID.
The neighbor whose 911 call led to the discovery of Criddell’s body on March 28 told police they heard the men arguing in late February or early March and specifically remembered hearing Criddell shout, “Stop, Anton! You’re crazy! Drop it!”
They said everything became “eerily quiet” after that. Concerned, the neighbor walked over to the men’s apartment and saw Criddell sitting motionless in a chair in the kitchen. They never saw Criddell alive again.
Urbikas gave the neighbor conflicting explanations for Criddell’s disappearance, alternatively saying Criddell moved to Florida and that Urbikas kicked him out for participating in unemployment fraud, Murphy said.
Police went to the men’s apartment on March 17 to conduct a well-being check on Criddell, but Urbikas refused to let them in and only spoke with them through the door, according to Murphy. The neighbor never saw Urbikas again.
The neighbor noticed an unusual smell in the building that resembled chemicals at first and then gradually smelled more and more like death over the course of a couple weeks, Murphy said. Last Sunday, the neighbor called police about the smell and cops found Criddell’s body on the kitchen floor covered in a blanket, blue tarp, and other items that Urbikas allegedly told investigators he used to disguise the smell.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined that Criddell died from multiple sharp force injuries to his head and body. Murphy said Urbikas admitted to beating him with a wooden bed leg that had a nail or screw sticking out of it.
According to Murphy, police located Urbikas this week at Jackson Park Hospital, where he was being treated for a psychiatric condition. He spoke with detectives after he was discharged and admitted to the murder, Murphy continued.
During a probable cause hearing Thursday, Urbikas interrupted a judge’s questioning of a CPD detective to say he killed Criddell on March 1, not on March 17, as police alleged in court filings.
“For now, we’ll stick with March 17,” the detective said.
Urbikas was arrested on December 3 for domestic battery after he allegedly stabbed Criddell with a pole, Murphy said. The outcome of that case was not available. Urbikas has no other criminal convictions — although there is an active order of protection to keep him away from his own mother, Murphy reported.
Urbikas’s defense attorney said he works as a flooring and woodwork contractor. He’s a cancer survivor, volunteers at a food pantry, and regularly attends church, she said.
After ordering Urbikas held without bail, Judge Willis took a moment to point out that he did not order Urbikas into custody due to his mental health condition but, rather, because the judge had no other option to ensure that Urbikas’s condition had stabilized and that he no longer presented a threat to others.