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Chicago man kills best friend over pot plant: prosecutors

Christopher Shoji / phofrom Chicago Police.

Christopher Shoji / photo from Chicago Police.

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Updated: November 12, 2013 6:26AM



A North Center neighborhood man allegedly stabbed his best friend to death after the drunken pair got into an argument over the marijuana plant the man was growing in his mother’s backyard.

After Christopher Shoji killed 24-year-old Solomon Morales outside their mutual friend’s basement apartment early Tuesday morning, he ran to his mother’s house, pulled out the 4- to-5-foot long illegal plant, came back to the friend’s apartment and hid in her closet with the pot where police found him, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Latoya Croswell said Thursday.

Shoji, 25, allegedly admitted to his female friend that he left the knife he used in the fatal stabbing in his mother’s backyard.

He also told her he was scared Morales, of the 4200 block of North Damen, would “snitch” about his marijuana plant, Croswell said.

Morales died at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where his family took him after he was able to walk home, leaving a trail of blood from his friend’s home, in the 2000 block of West Warner.

He knocked on the door and collapsed, Croswell said.

Morales’ older brother, Archimides Morales, believes that Shoji was mad at his younger brother because he believed he was stealing pot from that “stupid-ass plant in his backyard.”

“He [Solomon Morales] wasn’t smoking anymore because he was looking for a job,” Archimides Morales told the Sun-Times in a telephone interview.

“They were best friends, which is the worst part about it. We saw him [Shoji] all the time. We always had him at our house for dinner and to drink . . . I gave Chris the clothes off my back. It pisses me off that this how he repays us. He was family,” Archimides Morales said.

Around 4 a.m. Tuesday, Morales, Shoji and their female elementary school friend had been drinking in the woman’s apartment when Morales and Shoji started fighting in the kitchen, Croswell said.

Morales yelled at Shoji about the marijuana plant and the fight soon turned physical, Croswell said.

The woman told the men to leave because she didn’t want to get evicted from her apartment over the commotion.

She eventually separated the Morales and Shoji and Morales left the apartment with a beer can, Croswell said.

Shoji grabbed a knife and followed Morales outside before stabbing him repeatedly in an alley, Croswell said.

Shoji allegedly told the woman he stabbed Morales. She also saw the blood on the knife.

Archimides Morales said his brother was currently working as a mover and often did day care duties for him.

“He was great with kids. F---, I’d give him my son and he’d fall asleep in his arms,” Archimides Morales said.

Shoji, of the 2000 block of West Hutchinson and employed at a Quizno’s sandwich shop, had an outsanding warrant for his arrest for violating his probation for a 2010 weapons conviction.

When he was arrested, he allegedly told police, “That’s my weed and I’m a convicted felon with a warrant.”

“He was in the f------ closet holding on to that little-ass plant as if he was holding on his life,” Archimides Morales said, exasperated.

Shoji was charged with murder and misdemeanor cannabis production.

Shoji can’t “control himself,” Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. said before ordering him held without bond Thursday.

Shoji’s family didn’t comment but a woman yelled, “Love you Chris” before he was taken away by sheriff’s deputies.

Email: rhussain@suntimes.com

Twitter: @rummanahussain



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