Chicago/Suburbs

BOND SET AT $1 MILLION FOR CALIFORNIA MAN AFTER CHARGES UPGRADED TO FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN OAKBROOK TERRACE DEATH

DuPage County State’s Attorney

August 9, 2021

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin and Oakbrook Terrace Chief of Police Casey Calvello announced today that charges have been upgraded to First-Degree Murder against Terry Kennedy, 36 (d.o.b. 5/27/1985) of Long Beach, California. Kennedy was charged with one count of Aggravated Battery (Class 3 Felony) after allegedly punching Josiah Kassahun, 23, in the face, causing Kassahun to fall and strike his head on the pavement late last month. On July 28, 2021, Kennedy appeared at a bond hearing where bond was set at $100,000 with 10% to apply. On July 31, 2021, Kassahun died from injuries allegedly sustained in the beating. On August 2, 2021, Kennedy was charged with one count of First-Degree Murder in addition to the existing count of Aggravated Battery. Kennedy appeared at a bond hearing this morning where Judge Michael Reidy set bond at $1 million with 10% to apply.

On July 27, 2021, at approximately 11:05 a.m., officers with the Oakbrook Terrace Police Department responded to a call of an assault at the Comfort Suites Motel, located at 17W445 Roosevelt Road. Upon their arrival, officers located Kassahun on the ground in the parking lot unconscious and bleeding from the head. He was immediately taken to a local hospital by Oakbrook Terrace paramedics. Following an investigation conducted by the Oakbrook Terrace Police Department into Kassahun’s beating, it is alleged that in the morning hours of July 27, 2021, Kennedy, Kassahun, and Kennedy’s ex-girlfriend checked out of a room at the Comfort Suites Motel and were walking to Kennedy’s ex-girlfriend’s car when Kennedy became enraged for no apparent reason. It is further alleged that Kassahun told Kennedy to calm down and Kennedy punched Kassahun in the face, causing Kassahun to fall to the ground and strike his head on the pavement. Kennedy then allegedly kicked Kassahun in his torso before fleeing the scene in his ex-girlfriend’s car. Wheaton Police located Kennedy in Wheaton and apprehended him after a short chase. Kassahun underwent emergency surgery and was subsequently transported to Rush Hospital in Chicago. He was placed on life support and succumbed to his injuries on July 31, 2021. The findings of an autopsy conducted by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office led to the upgraded charges.

“On July 27, 2021, Terry Kennedy allegedly punched Josiah Kassahun after becoming enraged for no apparent reason, causing Josiah to strike his head on the pavement,” Berlin said.  “I offer my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Kassahun as they mourn this senseless loss of life. I commend the Oakbrook Terrace and Wheaton Police Departments for their outstanding work on this very tragic case. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Grace Barsanti and Rob Willis for their efforts in securing the appropriate charges against Mr. Kennedy.”

Oakbrook Terrace Chief of Police, Casey Calvello, stated “I would also like to extend my sincere condolences to Mr. Kassahun’s family and friends as they cope with this terrible tragedy. I know that nothing will bring Josiah back, but I hope that the charges brought against the defendant offer some measure of comfort to his loved ones. I would like to thank the members of the Oakbrook Terrace Police Department, the Wheaton Police Department and the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office for their exceptional work on this case. I would also like to thank DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin for his unwavering partnership in the pursuit of justice.”

Kennedy’s next court appearance is scheduled for August 23, 2021, for arraignment in front of Judge Reidy. 

Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

DuPage County State’s Attorney

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