A Cook County judge has set a trial date of Feb. 3, 2014, for Matthew Nellessen, charged with first-degree murder in the 2011 slaying of his widowed father in the family's Arlington Heights home.
Matthew Nellessen, 21, indicated recently to Judge Martin Agran that he wanted to fire his attorney, Cook County Assistant Public Defender Daniel Naranjo, and represent himself. The younger Nellessen reversed himself at a hearing two weeks ago and asked that the judge reappoint Naranjo.
Prosecutors say Matthew Nellessen beat and stabbed his 55-year-old father, George Nellessen, to death on April 12, 2011, during a robbery orchestrated with help from Chicago residents Marlon L. Green and Armon Braden, both 23, and Azari Braden, 21, who authorities say drove the men to the Nellessen home in exchange for gas money and a pair of diamond earrings.
All four men are charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping and home invasion. If convicted of the most serious charge, the defendants face sentences of 20 to 60 years in prison.
Prosecutors say money motivated the robbery, which began with Matthew Nellessen trying unsuccessfully to access his father's bank accounts online while his father was at work. Nellessen, Green and Armon Braden confronted the elder Nellessen when he returned home, brandished a pellet gun and duct taped him to a chair while demanding George Nellessen turn over money from his account, prosecutors said. Matthew Nellessen took $800 from his father's wallet and forced him to sign a $100,000 check, authorities said. When George Nellessen threatened to report his son to police, Matthew Nellessen hit him with a baseball bat and stabbed him in the neck, prosecutors said.
Two days later, a friend discovered George Nellessen's body after the son let her in. As she called police, Matthew Nellesen left the home, leading police on a high-speed chase through Hoffman Estates and Barrington Hills. It eventually concluded in East Dundee with police taking Nellessen into custody.
Nellessen next appears in court for a status hearing on Dec. 3. The cases against the other defendants are still pending.