CHICAGO — Genesis Silva, the Logan Square man accused last year of storing his murdered girlfriend’s body stuffed inside a duffle bag in his bedroom, was expecting to go to trial soon on charges of concealing a homicidal death.
Those plans changed considerably this week when Cook County prosecutors finally agreed to charge him with not just concealing the woman’s murder, but committing it.
Silva appeared in court Tuesday as his attorneys made filings in preparation for an imminent jury trial before Judge Mary Brosnahan. But Chicago cops arrested him the next day at Cook County jail to face upgraded charges of first-degree murder.
CPD investigators first contacted Silva about Brittany Battaglia after her roommate and the roommate’s boyfriend filed separate missing persons reports for her in early June. Prosecutors said Silva, 34, and Battaglia, 33, had been dating for about a year when she went missing.
The cops stopped Silva, a registered sex offender who was once charged with trying to kill his ex-wife, for a conversation as he left his home in the 2000 block of North Kimball with a red and black backpack flung over his shoulder.
Inside his apartment, detectives allegedly found Battaglia’s body inside a large duffle bag in his bedroom. The medical examiner ruled Battaglia’s death a homicide by multiple sharp-force wounds. His red and black backpack contained a machete, prosecutors said. A second machete was found in his car.
In his kitchen, two garbage bags near a tarp contained shoes, a bucket, a paint suit, gloves, bleach, and a Swiffer. Tests of the materials showed the presence of blood, but none was visible, according to prosecutors.
The police also found three lists of items like cleaning supplies, chemicals, and boots. A recovered note allegedly read, “Can you ask average time until smell, etc?”
Cook County prosecutors, though, refused to approve murder charges against him. That changed this week. Exactly why they decided to pursue the murder case now may be revealed when Silva appears for a detention hearing on the charge today.
In October, prosecutors accused another man, 37-year-old Peter Mathes, of helping Silva conceal Battaglia’s death. He is on electronic monitoring while the case is pending.
Silva was charged with attempted murder and sexual assault of his wife in 2009, prosecutors said during his bail hearing earlier this year. After returning home from a party, the couple argued, and he strangled her, repeatedly asking, “Why won’t you just die?”
He then forced her into bed at knifepoint and sexually assaulted her, according to officials.
Prosecutors eventually settled the case by allowing Silva to plead guilty to a single charge of criminal sexual abuse in exchange for a two-year probation sentence.
The couple has since divorced.
“He had a deep hate for women,” Silva’s ex-wife told the Sun-Times in June. “It’s definitely one of those American Psycho type of things because it’s like two completely different sides of a person.”
‘Turned his life around’
“By all accounts, Mr. Silva has turned his life around,” his defense attorney argued after prosecutors filed the initial charges last June. She said he participated in “harm reduction” by distributing Narcan and discouraging the use of narcotics.
A Whitney Young graduate, he owned Genesis Platforms, an audiovisual consulting company, the lawyer continued.
She also argued that a machete does not qualify as a weapon under relevant state law. However, that charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon is the only reason a judge was able to hold him in jail to await trial. Concealing a homicidal death is not a detainable offense in Illinois.