A Chicago man charged in connection with the 2011 slaying of 55-year-old Arlington Heights resident George Nellessen has had his bail reduced to $20,000, Cook County court records show.
Azari Braden, 20, must post 10 percent, or $2,000, to be released from Cook County jail, where he remained as of Wednesday afternoon. A Cook County judge set Braden's bail at $1.5 million following his April 2011 arrest on charges of first-degree murder. A second judge reduced Braden's bail to $500,000 last October.
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Also charged with first-degree murder, robbery and home invasion were the victim's son, Mathew Nellessen, 20, who prosecutors say robbed and killed his father with help from Azari Braden's older brother, Armon Braden, 21, and Marlon L. Green, 22, both of Chicago. Nellessen is being held without bail at Cook County jail. Armon Braden remains in custody on $2 million bail, while Green is being held on $3 million bail.
Azari Braden next appears in court on Dec. 14.
Nellessen, who was on probation for a 2009 burglary at the time of his father's death, is accused of orchestrating the robbery. Prosecutors say he solicited help from Green, whom Nellessen had met during an earlier stint at Cook County jail. Green contacted Armon Braden, who supplied a pellet gun, and Azari Braden, a former Southern Illinois University student who authorities say drove his brother and Green from Chicago to the Nellessen home on April 12, 2011, in exchange for gas money and a pair of diamond earrings.
Once there, Green and Armon Braden exited the car and met up with Mathew Nellessen and Azari Braden drove away "with the understanding that he would return to pick them up," prosecutors said during last year's bond hearings.
Earlier, Azari Braden's lawyers insisted their client had minimal involvement and was never alleged to have been in the house. They did not return calls seeking a comment Wednesday.
Authorities say Mathew Nellessen tried to access his father's financial records while his father was at work. George Nellessen returned home and confronted his son, prosecutors said. They say Armon Braden held the victim at gunpoint while he and Mathew Nellessen duct taped the victim to a chair and Green ordered the man to give them his money. Mathew Nellessen forced his father to sign a $100,000 check and took $800 from his father's wallet, prosecutors say. After George Nellessen threatened to call the police, Mathew stuffed a rag in his mouth, duct taped his eyes and nose, struck him with a baseball bat and stabbed him in the neck, prosecutors said.
One of George Nellessen's friends arrived two days later, looking for Nellessen after he failed to show up for work. Mathew Nellessen met her at the door and initially refused to let her in. She did enter eventually and found the victim dead but still taped to the chair. The woman left and called 911, while Nellessen fled, leading police on a 30-minute car chase through Hoffman Estates and Barrington Hills before he was stopped and taken into custody in East Dundee.