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By Will Racke
A teenage girl from Chicago has been charged with the gruesome slaying of an Uber driver, whom she allegedly stabbed to death with a knife and machete she stole from Walmart just minutes before the unprovoked attack.
Eliza Wasni, 16, was charged Wednesday afternoon with the murder of Grant Nelson, a 34-year-old man from suburban Wilmette. A Cook County judge ordered her held without bail for an act prosecutors called “heinous” and “not provoked in any manner,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Police say that Nelson had picked up Wasni early Tuesday a few blocks from a Walmart in the nearby town of Skokie. Minutes into the ride, she began stabbing him from the back seat.
Nelson was able to pull over and escape to a condominium building lobby, where he pleaded with bystanders for assistance.
“Help me, help me. I’m going to die,” he said, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Cunningham.
While Nelson bled out in the condo lobby, prosecutors say, Wasni took off in his car, immediately crashed into a median, and fled on foot. She was found nearby wearing only a bra and leggings, with a trail of blood leading responding officers to the condominium lobby where Nelson lay.
The Uber driver, who prosecutors say was a “random victim,” was able to describe Wasni to police but later died at a nearby hospital. During Wasni’s hearing, Nelson’s family members sobbed when prosecutors described him begging for help in the lobby before he was found on the ground outside in a pool of blood, reports the Tribune.
Surveillance video footage from Walmart showed Wasni walking around the store with a knife and machete and then leaving without paying for them, according to Cunningham. The teenager took two Uber rides before hailing Nelson near the Walmart, apparently in violation of a company policy that requires riders to be at least 18 years old.
An Uber spokeswoman said in a statement Wednesday the company is “heartbroken by the loss of one of our partners, Grant Nelson. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”
Cook County Judge Michael Hood ordered Wasni to be held without bail, and prosecutors are charging the 16-year-old as an adult with first-degree murder.