Eliza Wasni, 19, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the stabbing of an Uber driver in a Chicago suburb in 2017.
On May 30, 2017, Wasni was leaving a 24-hour Walmart before dawn in Skokie. She shoplifted a knife and machete and called an Uber. Surveillance footage from Walmart showed Wasni, who at the time was a student at Taft High School, walking around the store with the weapons and then leaving without paying for them.
Grant Nelson, 34, of Wilmette, responded to the request and picked Wasni up in a Hyundai Sonata. Within two minutes, Wasni, 16 at the time, began attacking Nelson as the car approached the intersection of Touhy and Lincoln avenues. She repeatedly stabbed him on the side of his arm, torso, head, and chest, according to prosecutors.
In an effort to get away, Nelson pulled up to a condo building in the 7200 block of Touhy Avenue. He ran to the lobby and attempted to get help. Unfortunately, that did not work. Responding offers followed a trail of blood and found him on the grass on the side of the building.
While Nelson was trying to get help, Wasni took his car and drove it back toward Lincoln and Touhy avenues. She struck a median and fled the vehicle. Officers later found her hiding behind a nearby office building in a blood-spattered Cubs shirt, holding the bloody machete and knife.
In addition to finding Wasni with the murder weapons and Nelson’s blood, Nelson was able to tell police his passenger had stabbed him before he died at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. When officers found Nelson’s phone in the front seat of his car, they also saw that Wasni was listed as his Uber passenger.
When Wasni first appeared in court three years ago, Judge Michael J. Hood called her actions a “random act of violence.” On August 24, 2020, she pleaded guilty and Cook County Judge Timothy Chambers sentenced her to nearly three decades in prison.
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