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redeyechicago.com

Prosecutors: Man stabbed roommate to death after using racial slur

by Liam Ford and Carlos Sadovi

Tribune reporters

2:51 PM CDT, March 20, 2013

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An Albany Park man is accused of stabbing his roommate to death after calling him a racial epithet in their basement apartment, authorities said.

Jim Diaz, 25, and the victim, Eber Ochoa, 26, were from Guatamala and lived with Ochoa's brother in the 4800 block of North Drake Avenue.

Diaz, Ochoa and his brother had friends over to their apartment on Monday evening, authorities said. Diaz and Ochoa began to argue as they sat in the living room, drinking beer, according to Cook County state’s attorney spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

Diaz used a racial slur and Ocoa moved to fight Diaz, Simonton said. Diaz pulled out a knife and stabbed Ochoa several times, including in the heart, she said.

People in the apartment wrestled the knife away from Diaz and restrained him until police arrived. Witnesses identified Diaz on the scene, Simonton said.

Ochoa was pronounced dead at 8:24 p.m. Monday at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, according to police. The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined Ochoa died from six stab wounds, Simonton said.

Diaz works and lives in Chicago. His public defender, Marijane Placek said "alcohol and knives don't mix. There was a fight at the house, the loser got dead and the winner got charged."

Diaz was charged with first-degree murder and was being held on $500,000 bail.

Diaz is next scheduled to appear in court April 8. He has requested the help of the Guatelmalan consulate, but it was not immediately known whether he was a legal resident of the United States, prosecutors said at a hearing before Judge Israel Desierto.

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