Chicago man charged with stabbing Chase employee has violent past: prosecutors

The Chicago man accused of fatally stabbing an employee at a Chase bank in River North is being held without bond.

Jawaun Westbrooks, 35, faces one count of first-degree murder.

The attack happened Wednesday around 11 a.m. inside the bank located at the corner of Dearborn and Ohio.

Prosecutors said Westbrooks pulled a knife from his waist and cut the victim, 24-year-old Jessica Vilaythong, with one swipe and then fled the scene.

A witness at the scene took off his shirt to try to stop Vilaythong from bleeding, prosecutors said.

Approximately four hour and 40 minutes later, prosecutors said Westbrooks was located at a Walgreens on State Street and taken into custody.

When he was located, Westbrooks had sweatpants over his track pants and a hunting knife on his right ankle, prosecutors said.


He was positively identified by a witness as the person who stabbed Vilaythong.

Prosecutors went through Westbrooks' extensive criminal history during bond court Saturday.

Westbrooks had 12 prior cases, including aggravated battery to an officer. 

The most serious case was in 2014 when he was charged with attempted murder with intent to kill. After allegedly attacking two women with a hammer near Navy Pier, he was sent to a mental health facility and the case was thrown out. Westbrooks was on parole at the time for attempted robbery in 2012.

"How he got out and is now charged with first-degree murder … there’s some frustrations from our standpoint," Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said at a news conference Friday.

Prosecutors said during the attempted robbery, Westbrooks slapped a victim who wouldn't give him her phone. She fell to the ground and hit her head. Prosecutors said he smiled when she fell.

Westbrooks is currently unemployed and homeless. 

During court Saturday, he said he doesn't recall what he was picked up for.

Westbrooks is being held without bond. His next court date is Sept. 8.