Bond denied for man accused of strangling nursing student, leaving body behind South Side house

CHICAGO -- A judge denied bail Wednesday for a man charged with strangling a nursing student and abandoning her body in the backyard of a South Side home this May.

A bond court judge called the murder of 18-year-old Karalynn McNicholas of Mount Greenwood "cruel" and "heinous" Wednesday as 20-year-old Trevon Clark stood facing one count of first degree murder and one count of felony possession of a stolen vehicle in the case.

Karalynn's mother Christine McNicholas says the last few months have been very difficult without her daughter, but she is very thankful for the hard work of Chicago police.

"We’re extremely happy with Chicago police and the fact they worked so hard and so quick to bring this to another step in getting justice for Kara," McNicholas said.

In bond court Wednesday, prosecutors said Clark and McNicholas first met in person on May 4th after communicating online. On May 10th, the two were with an unnamed witness in Clark’s basement apartment at 64th Street and Francisco Avenue. During a brief verbal altercation, prosecutors say Clark grabbed McNicholas and strangled her. Her body was found the next day.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini alleged in court that Clark then put McNicholas' body into the trunk of her car and drove away, with the witness riding in the passenger seat. After going to the 6000 block of south Maplewood Avenue, Clark allegedly "'deposited the victim in the backyard of a residence," Santini said.

McNicholas was reported missing after she never showed up to meet with a friend. Her car, purse and cell phone could not be located. Detectives located McNicholas’s car near Clark’s home this month, police say. They said the license plates had been replaced, and Clark had recently started a roadside repair service.

"Major modifications had been made to her car including the placement of reflective stickers, labels that the vehicle was involved in roadside repair service, external light strips and an oscillating light on top," Santini said.

Police later stopped the car and someone else was behind the wheel. He told police Clark gave him permission to drive the car while Clark was out of town.
Clark was arrested at 12:30am on Monday at Midway airport and is being held without bail. He’s due back in court on September 10.
Kara’s relatives say they are determined to be her voice.

"She was an incredible person," Christine McNicholas said. "She did touch a lot of lives and she would have made a huge difference in this world."