A parolee has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with last month’s fatal shooting of an alleged prostitute at a Gold Coast hotel, according to a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
Lamarcus Washington, 28, of Chicago had already been in custody for violating his parole on a 2008 drug conviction, since being questioned about the Aug. 13 slaying of 22-year-old Brianna Gardner, authorities said.
She was found fatally shot in the head about 10 a.m. in a seventh-floor room of the Whitehall Hotel, 105 E. Delaware Pl., just off the Magnificent Mile near the John Hancock Center. At least one guest staying near her room heard what sounded like a gunshot about 3:30 a.m. that day, authorities said, but police were not notified until hours later when a cleaning crew discovered her body.
Although police could not find the murder weapon, Washington’s cell phone was found in the room when Gardner’s body was discovered, authorities said.
Gardner was arrested a week earlier in Chicago on a misdemeanor prostitution charge and had prostitution arrests in the past year in Houston and Washington, D.C., according to court records.
Police said Washington was a customer of Gardner's when she was slain.
Gardner had been arrested Aug. 8 about six blocks from the hotel in the River North neighborhood, allegedly flagging down motorists and pedestrians and soliciting sex, according to police sources. A court record from the arrest indicated Gardner lived in Dallas.
In addition to the drug conviction, Washington has a felony conviction for residential burglary and another for a weapons-related offense, court records show. He has twice been arrested in other prostitution-related incidents, including in March when he was alleged to have offered $40 for sex to an undercover Chicago police officer posing as a prostitute on a West Side street, according to court records.
That charge, however, was dropped.
Since being questioned about the murder, Washington had been held at the Menard Correctional Center before being transferred to Chicago police custody. He is due to appear for a bond hearing on Tuesday.
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