COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Three people beat another man to death over a debt, and stuffed the victim's corpse in a garbage can in Englewood, prosecutors said Thursday.
Bryan Perkins, 28, Deshawn Martin, 17, and Sokito Taylor, 17, were charged with the murder of Ernest Pritchett III, 51. Pritchett's body was found in a garbage can along a Safe Passage route in the 700 block of West 61st Place on Monday, the first day back to school for CPS students.
Martin and Taylor appeared Thursday in court, where a judge set their bail at $1 million on charges of first-degree murder and concealing a homicide. Perkins' bails was set at $2 million Friday.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Christina Brewer said Perkins confronted Pritchett Sunday outside Perkins' home and demanded money Pritchett owed him.
When Pritchett couldn't pay the debt, Perkins grabbed a fence post and hit Pritchett over the head with it, Brewer said.
At some point, Taylor and Martin joined in, she said. Perkins then grabbed a "big rock" and hit Pritchett with it.
After they killed Pritchett, the trio put his body in a rolling garbage can and moved it several blocks away, Brewer said. A Streets and Sanitation crew found it the next day.
Brewer said Perkins called a witness who declined to join in the beating "a coward," and then beat the witness.
A defense attorney for Martin and Taylor said they turned themselves in to police.
Pritchett's body was found about 10 a.m. Monday in the 700 block of West 61st Place, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Pritchett, whose address was unknown, was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:45 a.m.
An autopsy ruled Pritchett's death a homicide and his cause of death as a beating.
Pritchett's body was found on the first day of the 2013-2014 school year, less than a block from the Safe Passage route on Halsted Street that serves students from Nicholson Technology Academy.