CHICAGO —After nearly three years, a man has been charged in the murder of a woman on the city's South Side.
Arthur Hilliard, 52, was arrested on a warrant Wednesday night and a felony charge of first-degree murder. He was charged with concealment of a murder just over a year ago.
In March 2017, the body of Diamond Turner was discovered in a dumpster on 73rd and Kenwood in the Grand Crossing neighborhood. The scene was not far from a bar where Turner was last seen leaving with a man days earlier.
An autopsy found that Turner died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma to the head.
Thursday, a Cook County judge ordered Hilliard to be held without bond.
Family members of two different murder victims spoke after Hillard’s court appearance. They said the state’s DNA backlog delayed justice and may have allowed Hilliard to commit more crimes.
Turner’s family has waited nearly three years to hear that prime suspect Hilliard has finally been arrested and charged with her killing.
Latonya Turner, Diamond Turner’s aunt, said the family is relieved.
“It’s been three long years for me, my sister, my whole family,” she said. “So I’m glad he’s in jail and he’s going to get what he deserves. … It’s a blessing that they got him, that he is jail now and he won’t get a chance to hurt nobody else now.”
Prosecutors say Hilliard and Turner were in a relationship and she was last seen with him days before her body was found stuffed in a garbage can in a Grand Crossing alley.
Blood found in Hilliard’s home and on a mattress linked him to the crime was immediately sent for testing.
Conclusive DNA tests only recently came back.
“That’s too long for a family to be sitting back waiting on DNA to come back,” Latonya Turner said. “Waiting on murder charges for their loved ones.”
Authorities said a DNA testing backlog at the state crime lab may be responsible for the delay and in this case, that delay may have been the difference between life and death for another man.
“A person’s life could have been saved if indeed the charges had been brought in 2017,” community activist Andrew Holmes said.
Just 18 months after allegedly murdering turner, Hilliard pleaded guilty to concealing the homicide of Andre Williams who was stabbed to death and left in a shopping cart
“The defendant is captured on surveillance video pulling that contained the deceased body of 52-year-old victim Andre Williams,” assistant state’s attorney Jim Murphy said.
Authorities said Hilliard is now a suspect in that killing.
As authorities continue to investigate that case, they have charged Hilliard with first-degree murder in the killing of Turner.