AVALON PARK — John Cooley was eating his breakfast Monday morning when he heard a loud commotion outside his apartment.
When he looked over his banister, Cooley saw the horror of what was happening.
A man in his boxer shorts was atop a woman, Cooley said, and he was stabbing her in the head and stomach.
Cooley, 34, recognized the stabber and his victim. The stabber and the woman were related, he said.
"I knew he had problems," Cooley said of the man with the knife. "But not like that. ... That's hectic. You open your door and see him killing. ... I looked over the banister, she was laying on her stomach and he was on top of her stabbing her."
Cooley, who said he doesn't have a phone, yelled at the man, and then ran around the building to get help. By the time he returned, the stabber was gone, taking off with the victim's purse and car, Cooley said.
The woman, identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as 70-year-old Virginia Spaulding, died from her wounds at 10:09 a.m.
No one is in custody, and police have not released any information about who did it, other than to say the murder appear to be a case of domestic violence.
DNAinfo.com Chicago is not naming the man Cooley saw in the hallway because he has not been charged.
Friends and family gathered outside the apartment in the 1100 block of East 81st Street Monday morning to mourn Spaulding.
Quentin Forrest, a family friend, said Spaulding was "a sweet woman and an evangelist." She was visiting her family member to give him his medicine.
Cooley said the woman constantly spoke to him and brought him Bible pamphlets.
Melinda Brown, a neighbor, said the victim's relative kept to himself and was hard to understand because of "his slurred speech." She had helped the man find the apartment after they both were released from a nursing home.
Spaulding frequently visited, bringing food and groceries, Brown said. Brown saw her Sunday afternoon. She was smiling and wearing all black with an orange scarf.
"It's scary," she said.