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4th Suspect Charged with Killing West Ridge Man with Frying Pan

By Erica Demarest | February 25, 2016 1:44pm | Updated on February 25, 2016 3:46pm
 Armani Bearden, 18, is charged with first-degree murder.
Armani Bearden, 18, is charged with first-degree murder.
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DNAinfo; Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A fourth person has been charged with beating a 64-year-old man to death with a frying pan at a West Rogers Park birthday party.

Cary "Mike" Silverstein was reported missing in December after he missed two meetings and failed to contact his sister, whom he usually talked to daily, Assistant State's Attorney Marilyn Salas-Wail said during a bond hearing Thursday.

Prosecutors allege three people fatally attacked Silverstein at a party he was hosting in his West Rogers Park apartment on Dec. 10. A fourth accomplice helped dispose of Silverstein's body — which was tossed in a dumpster, likely brought to a suburban landfill and has yet to be found.

Shawndre Lehman, 17, Shatrara Lehman, 25, and Alexander Robinson, 28, were previously charged.

On Thursday, the fourth and final suspect, 18-year-old Armani Bearden, appeared before Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. on a charge of first-degree murder. The judge set bail at $1 million. Though Bearden was 17 at the time of the attack, he is charged as an adult.

According to prosecutors, the murder happened in the 6500 block of North Hoyne Avenue on Dec. 10.

Robinson punched Silverstein in the face about 7:30 p.m. after accusing the man of saying derogatory things to Robinson's girlfriend, Shatrara Lehman, prosecutors said. Robinson then left the party to cool off.

He returned a short while later, according to Salas-Wail. That's when Robinson, Bearden and Shawndre Lehman began to punch and kick Silverstein. The group repeatedly beat Silverstein with a metal frying pan until he was dead, authorities said.

At that point, the three attackers and Shatrara Lehman devised a plan to get rid of Silverstein's body, Salas-Wail said.

The group cleaned up Silverstein's blood with water and bleach and washed the frying pan, prosecutors said. They removed Silverstein's clothes and tried to wash his body before placing him in a makeshift body bag made of two garbage bags taped together, Salas-Wail added.

Shawndre Lehman then dumped Silverstein's body in a nearby dumpster, while Robinson and Bearden acted as lookouts, prosecutors said.

According to Salas-Wail, Silverstein's body has not been recovered. The company that collects trash in the area brings its garbage to a suburban Maywood facility. From there, garbage is sent to one of two landfills: a Rochelle location that collects 2 million pounds of trash daily or a Rockford locale that collects 10 million pounds of trash daily.

Detectives investigating the case found blood in Silverstein's kitchen and bathroom, prosecutors said. A witness later named Shawndre Lehman, Shatrara Lehman, Robinson and Bearden as the killers, according to Salas-Wail. 

Shawndre Lehman, of the 500 block of North Lockwood Avenue in Austin, was previously charged as an adult with first-degree murder. He was 16 at the time of the fatal attack, and bail was set at $1 million.

Robinson, of the 400 block of North Drake Avenue, was charged with first-degree murder. His bail was set at $1 million.

Shatrara Lehman, of the 3000 block of North Gresham Avenue, was charged with concealing a homicide. Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. on Feb. 18 said Lehman could be released on her own recognizance if she qualifies for the Cook County Sheriff's Office's electronic monitoring program. If not, she'll be responsible for $300,000 bail, the judge ordered.

Bearden is from the 1400 block of North Sedgwick Street, police said.

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