A West Side man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for strangling a woman in her River North hotel room last year. Lavarius McFadden, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder in a deal with prosecutors who agreed to drop seven other felonies. Judge James Linn oversaw the case and sentenced McFadden.
Officials said Elizabeth Long, 22, checked into the SpringHill Suites at 410 North Dearborn on March 12, 2020. Two days later, she arranged to meet with McFadden via the Tagged social media app in exchange for $100, prosecutors said.
He went to her hotel room around 4:37 p.m. but then claimed that he didn’t know that he had to pay for their meeting, according to prosecutors. When Long continued to ask for payment, McFadden pushed her and then strangled her until her eyes rolled back into her head, a prosecutor said.
McFadden allegedly told investigators that Long was reaching for a knife, but he didn’t give her a chance to get it. With Long unconscious on the bed, McFadden took the knife and her phone, then left the hotel shortly after 5 p.m., prosecutors said.
Hotel employees went to Long’s room about an hour later to check on her condition after the front desk received a call from a friend concerned about her safety. Fire department personnel tried to revive Long, but she was pronounced dead shortly after their arrival.
Prosecutors said hotel surveillance video captured images of McFadden carrying Long’s bright blue phone out of the lobby after the alleged attack. His “distinctive neck tattoos” are allegedly visible in the footage.
McFadden continued to use Long’s phone and even posed as Long in text messages from her phone after the murder, according to prosecutors. He allegedly arranged for at least two men to send a total of about $200 to his girlfriend’s cash app for prospective meetings with Long.
Cops served a search warrant at McFadden’s girlfriend’s house and recovered Long’s cell phone as well as the blue jacket that McFadden allegedly wore to his meeting with Long, prosecutors said.
Authorities have not set McFadden’s parole date. He will receive credit for the 492 days he spent in jail before pleading guilty.