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Man is charged in 23-year-old killing

(MCT) — A 52-year-old man has been charged with murder in the 1989 killing of a woman in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.

Michael A. Escort, who was already serving time for another crime, was charged with one count of first-degree murder in the Oct. 3, 1989, slaying of a woman in the 5800 block of South Lowe Avenue, according to court records.

Escort, who is from Joliet, is accused of beating and strangling to death Mary Smith, who other police sources have said was in her 30s when she died.

According to police and court records, DNA evidence has linked Escort to the slaying, and he was in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections when he was arrested Dec. 3 in the crime.

Escort appeared in bond court Sunday afternoon. Although bond in the case was set at $750,000, because he is already in prison, Escort cannot be released on bond. The state is also seeking no-bail status. His next hearing is Monday.

Escort was serving time at Stateville Correctional Center for an aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping conviction when he was arrested again, according to the Department of Corrections website.

In a separate case, Keith J. Anthony Jr., who authorities say is a self-admitted Gangster Disciple, was ordered held without bail Sunday in the April death of a teenager, according to a prosecutor who described the case. Anthony, 24, of the 3800 block of West Cermak Road, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jalen Armstrong, of the 8000 block of South Ingleside Avenue.

Armstrong was shot April 6 near the 800 block of East 81st Street in the East Chatham neighborhood as he walked on 81st Street, according to court records and a prosecutor's description at bond court.

Although earlier reports indicated Armstrong was 17, police documents in court said he was 19 when he died.

Another man, Juan Robinson, has already been charged in Armstrong's slaying and is also being held without bail, authorities said. Anthony was arrested in Wisconsin, where police found a gun with bullets that matched those found at the scene, prosecutors said.

Anthony was identified as one of the shooters by witnesses in a photo array before being taken into custody, prosecutors said. He has several identifiable tattoos, including two teardrops below his right eye. His next court date is Monday.

Anthony has been convicted of three felonies in the past, according to prosecutors, including armed robbery.

Tribune reporter Rosemary Regina Sobol contributed.

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