First reported: 6/17/2010 12:15:00 PM
At the time Steven Kellmann was picked up by police at a Southwest Side motel for allegedly murdering Brookfield resident Marilyn Fay, he was out on bond for a recent arrest for aggravated driving on a suspended license.
Fay had posted the bond.
Standing in a white paper jumpsuit and white sweat socks before Judge James J. Gavin at the Maybrook courthouse last Thursday, Kellmann listened quietly as a prosecutor recounted the events of June 13 and 14.
After hearing the details, Gavin set Kellmann's bond at $2 million, cash.
The last time anyone saw Marilyn Fay alive was at about 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 13, near her home. By 11:30 p.m. that night, according to the Cook County State's Attorney, surveillance cameras showed him attempting, unsuccessfully, to use Fay's debit card.
At 2 a.m. on June 14, he reportedly used the card to buy a meal at an all-night restaurant, and at 8 a.m. to make a purchase at a home improvement store.
That morning he also made cellphone calls to family members, allegedly telling them, "I'm going back to jail" and that he'd killed someone. The phone belonged to Fay.
When police arrived at Fay's home at 3322 Arthur Ave. on Monday afternoon to do a well-being check, they found Fay in her bedroom. According to police, she had been stabbed in the chest multiple times. She also suffered head trauma and had been suffocated, according to the county prosecutor.
Police tracked Fay's cellphone to Chicago's Southwest Side, where they found her 2002 Jeep Cherokee parked in the 5300 block of South Nottingham Avenue. According to the prosecutor at Thursday's bond hearing, police found blood stains in the vehicle.
Officers from Chicago and the west suburban Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT) found Kellmann at the Pink Palace Motel, just two blocks from where police found Fay's Jeep. They also reportedly recovered Fay's keys, credit cards and cellphone. Police also reported finding blood-stained clothes and 40 bags of heroin.
Police also arrested Kellmann's 23-year-old girlfriend at the motel. She was not charged and has been released by Brookfield police. However, police said, the investigation continues.
Kellmann has a long criminal history dating back to the late 1990s. He received a six-year sentence for robbing a man, forcing him to withdraw money from an ATM at gunpoint. In 2006, he was convicted of driving under the influence and in 2007 for felony theft, a conviction that resulted in a two-year prison sentence.
Living with his brother and mother in a two-story frame home in the 9100 block of Sherman Avenue in Brookfield, Kellmann often engaged in screaming matches with family members and his girlfriend, neighbors said.
Officers frequently responded to the home as a result, sometimes on a daily basis, police said. Reached Thursday afternoon at her home, Kellmann's mother declined to speak to a reporter.
A longtime resident of the block said, "He'd be screaming and swearing at his girlfriend at all hours of the day and night."
When Kellmann was younger, the neighbor recalled him running on top of cars parked in the street and blasting obscene rap music from the house.
Another neighbor also recalled frequent shouting matches taking place at Kellmann's home. She said that Kellmann was desperate for a job, which he couldn't get because of his police record.
"He wanted a job so bad," the neighbor said.
Instead, he would offer to do odd jobs around her home - changing the oil on the car, making minor house repairs. About two months ago, the neighbor told Kellmann she might be able to hire him to do work for a kitchen remodeling project the family had planned.
When the project fell through, Kellmann reportedly exploded in rage.
Kellmann's temper often forced his mother to kick him out of the house, according to the neighbor. "She needed the rest," the neighbor said.
His need for a roof over his head led him to Fay, a part-time Brookfield Public Library employee who worked evenings and Saturdays in the reference department. Fay's neighbors in the 3300 block of Arthur Avenue said she met him at work and offered him a place to stay.
"He was here quite a bit, more so last summer than this," said one neighbor who didn't want to be identified. "She had asked him to leave because he had anger-management issues."
On Sunday night, the neighbor's husband recalled seeing Kellmann changing the oil on Fay's Jeep.
"He was doing handy work for her," said Hank Gosker, another of Fay's neighbors. "His girlfriend would be helping Marilyn inside the home, while he would help outside."
Gosker echoed the feelings of many on the block regarding Fay.
"She was a very friendly person," he said. "Everybody liked her."
Fay, 65, was a school teacher in Chicago for 40 years, retiring in 2007. For almost all of that time she taught at Leif Ericson School on the West Side. She also loved animals and owned two dogs and two cats.
According to Brookfield Library Trustee Diane Duner, Fay recently returned home after spending a week volunteering at a Utah animal sanctuary.