KANKAKEE — “In my mind, I felt my brother was going to kill me. He had a rage look on his face. His eyes were red. I didn’t know what to do. I was frightened for my life.”
That was the testimony of accused killer Theo Chester who took the stand in his own defense Thursday in a Kankakee County courtroom. The 40-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 28-year-old brother, George Chester.
Theo Chester testified he thought he “poked” his brother with a knife in the thigh or buttocks during an August 2018 fight that resulted in George Chester’s death. He died of a single stab wound that pierced the left ventricle of his heart.
The brothers were in an argument that turned physical after George got upset with two men Theo had brought to George’s house in the 400 block of South Chicago Avenue on Aug 20, 2018.
Asked by his public defender, Jamie Boyd, why he went to the house with the men, Theo said it was to get one of the men a cigarette. Upon leaving the residence, Theo said George confronted him after looking out the door and seeing the two men.
“He slammed me to the floor and got on top of me,” Theo Chester said. “He held my face with his left hand and kept punching me. His thighs were holding down my arms.”
When his brother tired and stopped punching him, Theo said he got his right hand free and pulled a knife from the right pocket of his shorts.
“He put his hands around my throat and started choking me,” Theo said. “I blacked out. I opened my eyes, and I had a little vision of a person on top of me. I poked my brother [with the knife]. George hopped off me. He said, ‘Oh, you like playing with knives.’”
This is when the mother of George’s children, Alexandria Gaylor, entered the scene and told Theo to leave to cool down. Theo testified he saw a little bit of blood on a door but thought it was his. When he left, he said George was alive.
After Theo left, Gaylor turned to find George lying on the kitchen floor with blood coming from his chest.
During Thursday’s session, Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Reedy focused on Kankakee Police investigators’ questioning of Theo about the events of the night.
Theo testified there was just one fight, but in the police interview he talked about two fights.
Reedy played several snippets of the interview. When Reedy asked Theo why he didn’t tell the investigators about the knife, he replied “I wasn’t asked.”
During the police interview, Theo was also asked about his knife, which he said he had lost. It was found nearby the South Chicago Avenue house. It had blood on it.
They asked Theo if a knife they had found would have his blood, fingerprints or DNA on it.
“I had no knife,” he said.
At one point during Reedy’s questioning, Theo asked the end of the interview video be played.
“We’re getting there,” Reedy replied.
When the video reached the point where Theo said he didn’t have a knife, Reedy said, “This is the moment you have been waiting for. You said I had cut you off when we were talking about the knife. Did you know about the knife?” Reedy said.
“I told them what I wanted to tell them,” Theo said.
He is expected to continue his testimony on today with jury deliberation also expected today.