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Evanston man charged in 1988 murder, rape

Prentice Phillips / phofrom Chicago Police

Prentice Phillips / photo from Chicago Police

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Updated: January 14, 2014 1:13PM



An Evanston man has been charged with murder in the gruesome rape and attack of an elderly woman in Rogers Park more than 25 years ago.

Chicago Police on Thursday announced murder charges against 48-year-old Prentice Phillips, who is already in the Cook County Jail on unrelated charges.

Police say Margaret Blair, 81, was killed in the grisly attack about 3 a.m. July 11, 1988 in the 7200 block of North Sheridan Road.

Detectives at the time said a man knocked on Blair’s apartment door and forced his way in when she responded. Blair died in a hospital four days later after being beaten, choked, raped and robbed of $65.

DNA was recovered from the murder scene and that evidence was processed this year under a cold case grant, police said.

When Phillips was identified as a suspect, detectives learned he was already in jail. Detectives were able to question Philips, and prosecutors filed charges Thursday.

Phillips, who has an extensive criminal history including theft, aggravated battery to a peace officer and burglary, will appear for a bond hearing Friday.

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