Chicago Student Murdered After Ignoring Cat-Calls, Prosecutor Said
Ruth George’s loved ones say they “hold no hatred towards the perpetrator.”
A University of Illinois at Chicago student was killed after she rebuffed a cat-calling man, authorities said.
According to James Murphy, the assistant state’s attorney for Cook County, 19-year-old Ruth George was walking to her vehicle after a fraternity event on Nov. 23, when Donald Thurman spotted her.
Thurman, 26, allegedly tried to speak with George, but she ignored him and continued to her car, The Washington Post reported.
Murphy alleges Thurman followed George and cat-called her. “The defendant was angry that he was being ignored,” the prosecutor said.
Surveillance video allegedly shows Thurman strangle George from behind and drag her into the backseat of her vehicle. He then sexually assaulted the teen, according to allegations outlined in court documents.
Police and loved ones reportedly found George’s half-clothed body in her car after her sisters contacted authorities and pinged her phone. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene.
Law enforcement reviewed security video and surveilled a nearby Blue Line train station to catch Thurman. He allegedly confessed to assaulting George and strangling her. At the time of the attack, Thurman was on parole after serving two years of a six-year sentence for armed robbery, according to Chicago's WMAQ-TV.
Thurman is reportedly facing charges of aggravated sexual assault and first-degree murder. Public defender Valerie Panozzo told the court the accused is homeless.
UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said George, who was studying kinesiology, was an Honors College student and known on campus as “Ruthie," ABC News reported. She focused on her studies, Amiridis noted, and “dreamed of becoming a physical therapist to heal people." The chancellor described the teen as compassionate and "always there to lend a hand to her peers.”
A family spokesperson said in a statement the George family harbors “no hatred” toward Thurman, WMAQ-TV reported.
"She was the beloved baby of our family," the statement reads, in part. "We grieve with hope. We hold no hatred towards the perpetrator, but our hope is no other girl would be harmed in this way and for a mother to never experience this type of heartache."
Esther George wrote on Facebook that her slain sister, remembered for her smile and enthusiasm, “was the best of all of us” and “the light” of the family.
Thurman, who is held without bail, is due back in court on Dec. 16.