Eric Bryant, 49, was ordered held without bail Thursday by a Cook County judge on a charge of dismembering 61-year-old Kimiko Armstrong. Prosecutors said she was found dead in late July after her South Shore neighbors noticed a "very bad smell" emanating from the second floor of her apartment building, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Cops found Armstrong’s body wrapped in plastic and bedding on a hallway floor, police said.
Bryant was inside Armstrong’s apartment when police arrived, but managed to elude officers, prosecutors said.
Cops then discovered that Armstrong’s head was missing. They later found it wrapped in plastic alongside a handsaw in a bedroom with many of Bryant’s personal effects, including his tax and medical records, Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Deboni said.
Bryant, who was arrested Tuesday in an unrelated burglary, later told police he panicked because Armstrong’s body was starting to decompose and he beheaded it in an attempt to dispose of it, Deboni said.
Bryant, whose last known address is unclear, was taken into custody without incident and investigators later learned he had a warrant out for his arrest, police said.
An autopsy determined that Armstrong — who had to be identified via fingerprints — was decapitated after she was already dead. Prosecutors said it remains unclear exactly how she died, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
A court-appointed attorney for Bryant — who has 12 prior felony convictions, mostly for burglary — sought bail during Thursday’s hearing, but the request was denied, according to the newspaper.
"Your honor, this is a case where no actual live person was harmed," Bryant’s attorney told a judge. "A corpse is not a live person."
Bryant’s attorney said he works in scrap metal yards and doesn’t have money to post bail, but a judge ordered him held without bail. His next court appearance is Jan. 4.
"The seriousness of this act, the sanctity of the human body … all give me pause to whether you’re a threat to the community, and I believe you are," Judge Charles Beach told Bryant. "At this time sir, you will be held without bail."