HARWOOD HEIGHTS, Ill. (WGN-TV) — Police say they plan to bring additional charges against a man accused of punching and strangling a woman with a zipper during a carjacking in Harwood Heights, Illinois. Illinois, Wednesday.
Court documents allege that 24-year-old Reese Miller assaulted and strangled a 61-year-old woman early Wednesday morning while outside her home in the 4400 block of North Natchez Avenue, leaving the victim on a ventilator.
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The victim, who has been identified as Ma Operio, died of her injuries on Sunday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to a Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office bail, a neighbor who witnessed the attack told police he saw Operio lying face up on the road in front of her blue Toyota as he prepared to leave for his home around 6:30 a.m. to leave work. am on Wednesday. The witness told officers he saw a person in a black hoodie, who appeared to be on top of Operio, strangling her as she struggled. According to the witness, the man then got into the Operio Toyota and drove off along North Natchez Avenue with the trunk of the car still open.
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According to court documents, the neighbor called 911, and when officers arrived on the scene, they found Opio lying face down in the street with blood around her head and a zipper around her throat. When officers cut the zipper from her neck, her face was purple.
The bond provider states that Miller was caught in the stolen vehicle by Crete police later Wednesday morning, just after 9:30 am. At the time Miller was arrested, he was reportedly wearing the same clothing as described by a witness at the scene and police say he had abrasions on his hands and knees and a bloodstain on his jeans.
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Court documents show that the stolen vehicle was towed to Harwood Heights Police Station, where officers then found a knife and a handwritten note that read, “I am deeply sorry for hurting anyone at this time, it seemed the any choice. I didn’t want to hurt people. It was never something I would have ever thought possible until the realization of reality hit me.
According to the documents, Miller was also seen on surveillance video from the 6400 block on West Sunnyside Avenue wearing the same clothes he was arrested in and walking to the victim’s home just eight minutes before the attack.
The documents state that after Miller read his Miranda warnings, he admitted to taking the victim’s car after pulling her out of the car and putting the zipper around her neck. Miller also admitted to writing the note found in the vehicle and told officers that the abrasions on his hands and knees happened during the struggle when he scraped them against the concrete.
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According to the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, Miller admitted that the knife found in the vehicle belonged to him and told officers he removed the victim from the vehicle so he wouldn’t run her over while driving away. Miller also reportedly admitted to being the man seen on the surveillance video prior to the attack.
Miller has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated vehicle hijacking. Following Operao’s death Sunday, Harwood Heights police say they plan to bring additional charges against the suspect.
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