Man murdered Chicago college student after she ignored his catcalls, prosecutors say

CHICAGO (WLS/CNN) - A 26-year-old man was denied bond on charges related to the death of a 19-year-old student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Ruth George, 19, was a sophomore student on the honor roll at the University of Illinois at Chicago and dreamed of becoming a physical therapist one day. (Source: Family photos/WLS/CNN)

Donald Thurman, 26, is charged with first-degree murder and criminal sexual assault after prosecutors say he strangled 19-year-old Ruth George because he was “angry” she ignored his catcalls.

Prosecutors say George walked alone around 1:30 a.m. Saturday to a parking garage on the UIC campus, where she had parked her car, after she and friends returned from a semi-formal event.

As she walked past a bus stop, Thurman allegedly noticed her, “thought she was pretty and tried talking to her.”

George ignored him and continued walking.

Surveillance video shows Thurman, wearing a “distinctive white jacket,” follow George to where her car was parked, according to court documents. He then allegedly catcalled her and tried to talk to her again. George continued to ignore him.

When George got to her car, Thurman “was angry that he was being ignored,” the charging document states. He then allegedly grabbed her neck from behind and put her in a chokehold, knocking her unconscious.

Authorities say Thurman threw George into the back of her car and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.

Police and family members found George dead around 11 a.m. Saturday in the back seat of the car. The medical examiner ruled her cause of death as strangulation.

Thurman was arrested when he returned to the area Sunday and allegedly admitted during an interview that he choked George and threw her in the car. He admitted to sexual assaulting George but denied raping her, according to court documents.

The white jacket Thurman was allegedly wearing at the time of the crime was found at his home, prosecutors say. He lives near campus but has no affiliation with the university.

George was a sophomore student on the honor roll at UIC and dreamed of becoming a physical therapist one day.

"As a campus community we have shed many tears for her over the last three days," said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis in a statement Monday. "But our collective pain pales in comparison with the ordeal her family is and will be going through for days, months and years to come. Our thoughts and our hearts are with Ruthie's family and friends this evening."

At the time of the murder, Thurman was on parole for an armed robbery conviction. He was released from prison in December 2018. Police say he and George did not know each other.

Copyright 2019 WLS, UIC Police, Delta Epsilon Mu Psi, Family photos via CNN. All rights reserved.

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