COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A cable repairman was found guilty Monday of the murder of 23-year-old Urszula Sakowska.
Anthony Triplett, 32, was working as a contractor for Comcast in 2006 when Sakowska let him in her Southwest Side home to install Internet service, prosecutors said.
Once inside, Triplett assaulted the woman, strangled her, covered her head in a "death mask" made of duct tape and then attempted to wash away the evidence by dumping her body in the bathtub.
"It is finally finished," Greg Magiera, Sakowska's fiance, said outside the Cook County courtroom, where he has spent almost two weeks as prosecutors made the case against Triplett.
Stonefaced, Triplett betrayed no emotion when the verdict was read.
In the gallery, a smile spread across Magiera's face.
"I knew it would be a guilty verdict," he said.
Triplett also allegedly killed a second victim, Janice Ordidge, 39.
The Ordidge case is still pending in court.
Both women were found strangled in their bathtubs shortly after Triplett, out on Comcast service calls as a subcontractor, had made stops at their homes.
"As he's strangling them, he looks right in their eyes and he sees that light go out. ... He liked it," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Brian Sexton said Monday during closing arguments.
Jurors deliberated for more than six hours, breaking shortly before 7 p.m. to request a typed transcript of Triplett's surprise testimony given Friday.
Prosecutor's said when Triplett took the stand in his own defense, he told the jury that Ordidge "wanted him" and offered oral sex.
Triplett also claimed that he left Sakowska's house without installing Internet service because he didn't have a tool he needed.
"It was a bunch of lies," Magiera said. "He thought (testifying) would help him, but I think it made it worse."
Magiera celebrated the long-awaited verdict with the family of Ordidge, Triplett's first alleged victim.
"We were on the same side," he said after embracing Ordidge's father and mother. "It's better than being alone."
Ordidge was found dead in the bathtub of her Hyde Park apartment in October 2006, several weeks before Sakowska's murder.
Police were looking at Triplett. But it wasn’t until mid-December of that year, when results from DNA samples recovered from Ordidge's body came back, that he was charged.
And, by then, Sakowska was already dead.
Friends forged in the face of devastating loss, Magiera and Ordidge's family spent the last two weeks huddled together in the courtroom as prosecutors made presented evidence that ultimately led to Triplett's conviction.
They met more than six years ago after police linked the two murders to Triplett.
As an immigrant with no family in Chicago, Magiera said he came to lean on Ordidge's family. When Triplett returns to court for Ordidge's murder trial, her family members can expect the same in return.
"Greg is a really good guy," said Ordidge's brother, Jessie Young. "He's going to be my friend forever."