Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

SOUTH LOOP — Two people are facing murder charges after prosecutors said they beat and shot a 57-year-old man inside a South Loop apartment in January.

Elbert Williams, 35, and Chrystal Martin, 28, were charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 4 death of Timothy Valliantos. Williams was ordered held without bail during a court hearing Thursday. Martin was denied bail during a July 28 hearing.

The attack occurred about 9 p.m. Jan. 4 inside Valliantos’ ninth-floor apartment in the 2000 block of South Michigan Avenue, prosecutors said at a Thursday hearing.

Williams and Martin contacted Valliantos about buying drugs earlier in the day, prosecutors said. Martin and Williams then ordered food from a restaurant on 87th Street before meeting with Valliantos, prosecutors said.

Video surveillance shows Martin and Williams going into Valliantos’s apartment several times between 8:20 and 9:00 p.m., prosecutors said. Around 9:10 p.m., the building’s front desk attendant received a noise complaint from Valliantos’ apartment, prosecutors said. As the desk attendant exited the elevator to check on the noise, he saw the door to the stairwell close, prosecutors said. Martin and Williams were seen on surveillance cameras exiting the building moments later, prosecutors said.

Video also shows Williams and Martin leaving a Michigan Avenue parking spot in their car, prosecutors said. The pair then went to pick up the food they had ordered at the 87th Street restaurant about two hours earlier, prosecutors said. 

Around the same time someone complained about the noise, someone on the same floor called 911, saying their neighbor was involved in a fight, prosecutors said. Police arrived and found Valliantos with a gunshot wound in his right cheek and more than 30 separate blunt force injuries, including 13 wounds to his head, five to his torso and 15 to his hands and lower body, prosecutors said. 

Martin and Williams were identified using surveillance video, the apartment sign-in sheet and the name on Williams’ Link card, prosecutors said. After being brought in for questioning, Williams and Martin said they were present at the scene of the crime, but they said they acted in self-defense, prosecutors said. Both were released at the time, prosecutors said.

As the investigation continued, other neighbors came forward to say they heard the victim yelling for help and a woman yelling about money, prosecutors said. One witness told prosecutors she heard the victim offering credit cards, which the woman rejected, and heard the woman’s voice say “put him to sleep,” followed by choking sounds, prosecutors said. Two other witnesses on the same floor heard male and female voices, as well, prosecutors said. 

“The evidence of separate injuries of blunt force trauma, and additional injuries, all sustained by the victim … is not indicative of someone who’s just acting in self-defense,” Assistant District Attorney Daniel Hanichak said in court Thursday. 

Police issued an arrest warrant for Williams on July 7. He turned himself in Wednesday, prosecutors said Thursday. It was not immediately clear when Martin was arrested.

Williams is next scheduled to appear in court Aug. 26. 

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