DNA evidence has linked a felon currently serving a prison sentence for aggravated battery to the 2018 rape and murder of a 56-year-old woman who was found dead in her South Austin apartment last spring, Cook County prosecutors said.
Darlene Tolliver’s badly beaten, half-naked body was found in April in the bedroom of a basement apartment she had once shared with 26-year-old Robert Patrick, who told a friend he fatally stabbed Tolliver because she owed him $30, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Thursday.
Tolliver had three stab wounds, her face showed signs of trauma and all her teeth had been knocked out, Murphy said during Patrick’s bond hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
When confronted with DNA evidence that linked him to semen found on Tolliver’s body, Patrick told investigators that he had consensual sex with Tolliver. He denied hitting her and claimed that Tolliver had attacked him with a knife, Murphy said. That story seemed unlikely, given that Tolliver’s body was found with a coat on and with her pants and underwear removed, Murphy said. The only knives in the apartment were covered with dust, Murphy said.
Patrick’s DNA was also linked to blood found on a gym shoe found inside Tolliver’s bedroom, prosecutors said. Patrick told police that after he killed Tolliver, he ran from the apartment and threw her house keys into a trash bin, burned the clothes he’d been wearing and disposed the knife. Police found Tolliver’s keys in a Dumpster near the apartment.
A man who lived in Patrick’s former apartment had been home at the time of the attack, but told police he did not hear anything, and had not left his room for several days. Tolliver’s body was discovered when a relative of her boyfriend came to the apartment to do laundry, Murphy said.
Patrick, who was ordered held without bail, is already behind bars, serving a prison sentence for aggravated battery.