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Bail set at $5 million  in Evergreen Park killing

Updated: September 14, 2014 6:21AM



Bail was set at $5 million Tuesday for a Minooka man charged with stabbing a Chicago man to death early Sunday after they got into an argument at a party in Evergreen Park.

Patrick J. Tantillo, 39, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Lucian Nicolaescu. He appeared Tuesday morning at the Cook County courthouse in Bridgeview, where Circuit Court Judge Kerry Kennedy set bail.

Prosecutors said they have a videotape recorded by police in which Tantillo admits stabbing Nicolaescu. They told the judge that Tantillo and Nicolaescu got into an argument about 1 a.m. at a house in the 9300 block of Springfield Avenue, and Tantillo stabbed him once in his right side with a knife, an attack seen by several people.

Nicolaescu, 31, of the 4800 block of North Winthrop Avenue, was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead at 8:12 a.m., authorities said. An autopsy Monday found that he died of a stab wound and ruled his death a homicide, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

Tantillo, of the 1400 block of Plantain Drive, was arrested at the scene, and the weapon used to stab Nicolaescu was found in a neighboring yard, police said.

Tantillo has prior convictions on drug-related charges in 1999, 2003 and 2005 and served time in prison, according to court records.

On Tuesday, an assistant public defender told Kennedy that Tantillo has lived in Minooka for three years with a girlfriend and is the father of three teenagers, ages 19, 17 and 14. He recently completed a three-month program to become a truck driver, the public defender said.

Nicolaescu’s family was busy Tuesday planning his funeral.

“He was a good man, but we are not able to talk at this time. We are burying him on Thursday,” said a woman who answered the phone at the Knox, Indiana, home of Vasile Nicolaescu, the father of Lucian.

A man who identified himself as a brother-in-law of Nicolaescu but declined to give his name attended Tuesday’s court hearing. He said Nicolaescu was a “good guy who never really got into too much trouble.” He was not married, had no children and worked as a long-distance trucker, the man said.

“He just got back Friday night. Saturday morning he went to celebrate his father’s birthday with everyone in Indiana. He got back Saturday night and this happened,” the man said.

A woman at the house on Springfield Avenue declined comment when approached by a reporter Tuesday. Two neighbors said they knew nothing about the murder.

Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton said no other residents were endangered.

“I feel sorry for all involved in the incident, especially for the family of the man who passed away, but this was an isolated incident,” Sexton said Tuesday.



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