Wednesday, August 20, 2008

South Side landlord, 77, set afire, critically burned

By Melissa Patterson | Chicago Tribune reporter
10:27 PM CDT, August 19, 2008

A South Side landlord was critically burned Tuesday after being doused
with gasoline and set on fire, possibly by a tenant he evicted,
Chicago police said.

A family member identified the victim as Harlan Hayes, 77, of the 6300
block of South Ellis Avenue in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

Authorities responded at about 2:15 a.m. Tuesday and found Hayes
collapsed on the porch of the building next door. He was taken to the
University of Chicago Medical Center, where he remained in critical
condition.

Kathy Hinton said she called 911 after she heard Hayes screaming and
banging on her building's front door for help.

She looked out and saw that his clothes had been completely burned
off. In daylight, there was a dark handprint near the door and dark
stains on the porch.

"He was burned bad, and he was just laying there," Hinton said.

A tenant in Hayes' building said she also called police after the
smoke detectors went off and she heard a man screaming. She looked out
the window to see Hayes walking toward the building next door.

The tenant, who asked not to be identified, said she heard Hayes
implicate his attacker as he lay on the porch. She said she had seen
the man Hayes referred to threaten him over a security deposit. Police
were looking for a 28-year-old former tenant, evicted as recently as
last week. No one was in custody Tuesday evening.

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