July 27, 2007
Longtime girlfriend stabbed in quarrel over his drug use
By Hal Dardick
Tribune staff reporter
A Will County jury took less than two hours Thursday to find a Joliet man guilty of first-degree murder for repeatedly stabbing his longtime girlfriend during a 2005 quarrel over his drug use.
Robert Chapman showed no emotion when the verdict was read, while the relatives of victim Cassandra Frazier cried and thanked prosecutors. Chapman faces up to 120 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 1 by Judge Daniel Rozak.
Chapman's attorneys sought a second-degree murder conviction, arguing he stabbed and cut Frazier 20 times out of "sudden, intense passion" after she stabbed him in the leg with a steak knife while he was half-asleep in her apartment.
"He accepts his responsibility," attorney Edward Jaquays said. "He says he caused her death. This is a case of, 'How did it happen? Why did it happen?'"
Chapman, according to the account he gave to police about the Feb. 22, 2005, murder, stopped stabbing Frazier, 42, when she said, "I love you," Jaquays said. Chapman later went outside and flagged down a motorist, whom he told what happened.
"He's acknowledging, 'I made a mistake, I acted in the heat of passion. For that I am sorry,'" Jaquays said.
But prosecutors noted how many times Chapman, 39, stabbed and cut Frazier. "I am going to make you know how it feels," Chapman told Frazier as he stabbed her, according to his videotaped confession.
The incident followed a quarrel after Chapman arrived at Frazier's apartment on the 100 block of Twin Oaks Drive, prosecutors said. He had been drinking alcohol and smoking crack cocaine, authorities said.
After he was stabbed, Chapman wrested a steak knife from Frazier's hand, and when he was finished with her, he left the knife lodged in her neck.
"She was left to die by the defendant," said Assistant State's Atty. James Long Jr.
Chapman then got dressed and searched for cab fare, according to his confession. At one point, Frazier managed to get up and tried to leave the apartment, but Chapman knocked her back down, prosecutors said.
Will County Assistant State's Atty. Dant Foulk said that after Chapman took the knife from Frazier, she posed no threat to him. "She has been rendered useless as an attacker," he said.
Charles B. Pelkie
(815) 530-7110 (cellular)
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