COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A man tried to kill a young mother as she walked with her daughter because they looked happy "and it made him angry," he told authorities — but the girl was able to get help in time to foil the crime, prosecutors said.
Jessie White, 25, was sitting on the steps of a Brighton Park church in the 2900 block of West 40th Place when the 26-year-old woman and her daughter passed by Tuesday afternoon, Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said Wednesday during a court hearing.
Without warning, White descended upon them, pushing the 8-year-old to the ground as he pressed a knife against her mother's throat, Antonietti said.
The woman screamed for the girl to get help, Antonietti said. The child tried to throw her backpack at the man and then took off.
The mother fought against White, Antonietti said. As the two struggled for the knife, the blade and the handle broke apart, unbeknownst to White, prosecutors said.
He went to stab the mother, but instead struck her in the head with the blunt handle, Antonietti said. White then allegedly dragged her to the basement of an abandoned coach house. White knew the basement was unlocked because he had used it to relieve himself earlier, prosecutors said.
As the mother screamed, White climbed on top of her, hit her repeatedly and then strangled her until she lost consciousness, Antonietti said.
"I'm going to kill you. I have to kill you," White allegedly shouted at the victim, according to a police report.
But just then, the woman's husband, alerted by their 8-year-old daughter, appeared in the doorway, Antonietti said. Police arrived moments later.
After his arrest, White told police that "He saw the 26-year-old woman and her child and how happy they were, and it made him angry," Antonietti said as White hung his head in court.
He said he "just wanted to kill her," she said
"When [White] sees a happy situation ... his reaction is to violently attack this woman and try to kill her," Antonietti said.
A staff member at St. Pancratius Church at Sacramento and 40th Place said White was not affiliated with the church, and no one at the church witnessed the incident.
White, a business management student at DeVry, was charged with attempted murder and multiple counts of aggravated battery.
The mother he allegedly attacked is recovering from bruises to her neck and body and other minor injuries, prosecutors said.
White was ordered held without bail.
"This is a stranger-danger situation involving a mother and a child," Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil said in ordering that White remain behind bars.
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