CHICAGO — A 16-year-old girl was fatally stabbed in downtown Chicago this week after a dispute between rival groups escalated, turned physical, and ended with the teen suffering a stab wound to her heart, prosecutors say.
Details of the murder were revealed during a Saturday afternoon detention hearing for 18-year-old Egypt Otis, the woman prosecutors said is responsible for the murder. Earlier this year, Otis was charged in juvenile court with robbing and battering another girl on the Red Line. That case is still pending.
She is the 20th person accused of shooting, killing, or trying to shoot or kill someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. The cases involve at least 33 victims, ten of whom died.
Late Sunday night, 16-year-old Heaven Taylor and four friends rode the Red Line to the Loop and walked to a Taco Bell for food, Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Thrun said during Otis’ detention hearing.
But Taco Bell was only accepting online orders, so the group walked to a nearby sandwich shop, passing Otis and a group of Otis’ friends who were in a convenience store. Thrun said Taylor’s group and Otis’ friends had “prior disputes,” but none had been reported to Chicago police.
After leaving the sandwich shop, Taylor’s group crossed paths with Otis’ group again outside the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center. As Taylor’s group passed, Otis said she wanted to fight one of Taylor’s friends, according to Thrun.
Taylor became upset with the altercation, and people started encouraging her to fight Otis, Thrun continued. At that point, witnesses noticed that a man believed to be Otis’ boyfriend was flashing a gun, and another woman in Otis’ group was armed with a weapon made from a padlock attached to a shoelace, Thrun said.
Taylor and Otis exchanged punches as a bystander recorded the altercation. The video footage, which was occasionally obstructed by objects and people, showed Otis had something taped around her hand, Thrun said, but a surveillance camera recorded the entire altercation from a distance.
Thrun said Taylor backed away from Otis at one point and Otis removed an “item wrapped in black” from her shorts. She followed Taylor into the street, and the pair became “entangled,” Thrun continued.
At that moment, Otis made two “quick strikes” near Taylor’s breast, Thrun said. Taylor suffered three incise wounds, including the fatal blow that pierced her heart. She ran a short distance, collapsed in the street, and later died from the knife attack.
Thrun said that Otis and two men dashed to a nearby Blue Line station and jumped the turnstile. She changed some of her clothing and put on furry slippers as they waited for the train that took them out of downtown.
Thrun said she wore some of those same clothing items when she turned herself in to the police this week.
“There could be a possible self-defense issue in this,” Assistant Public Defender Fred Debartolo stated as he asked Judge Susana Ortiz to release Otis from custody.
The argument did not sway Ortiz.
“That all changed when the victim backed up and backed away,” the judge countered before ordering Otis to remain in custody.
Pending CTA robbery case
Chicago police arrested Otis on April 22 after she was identified as one of four women who battered and robbed a passenger on a Red Line train near 79th Street earlier that month.
Otis’ court records in that matter are not available because the case is being handled in juvenile court. But complaints filed against the three adult women accuse them of being part of a 10-person group that beat and robbed a 16-year-old girl of her purse, phone, and wig.
The “not horrible” series
This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others awaiting trial for a felony allegation. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “We haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.
The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people awaiting trial for felony allegations is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has brought charges in less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data.