Chicago woman who killed, dismembered landlord sentenced

A Chicago woman who killed her landlord and dismembered her body at an apartment in West Rogers Park almost two years ago was sentenced to 58 years in prison.

Sandra Kolalou was given 50 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the murder, six years for the dismemberment, and two years for aggravated identity theft.

Kolalou was convicted of murdering her 69-year-old landlord, Frances Walker. She was found guilty on all counts, including first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide, on April 22, 2024.

On Oct. 10, 2022, Chicago police searched a home where 36-year-old Kolalou rented a room and found Walker’s head, arms and legs stuffed inside a kitchen freezer, officials said.

Timeline of Frances Walker's death

Around 2:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, tenants in a home in the 5900 block of North Washtenaw Avenue heard screaming. Police said they tried texting and calling their landlord — identified Frances Walker — to make sure everything was OK.

Later in the day around 6 or 7 p.m., after not being able to contact Walker all day, the tenants called the police to report a missing person.

When officers arrived at the scene, Kolalou was leaving the home and heading to a tow truck that she had called and paid for using Walker's credit card, police said they later learned. Kolalou called the tow truck and asked him to take her to her car at Foster Beach so that it could be towed to a mechanic.  

According to police, officers at the home on the city's North Side searched the residence and at first did not find evidence of foul play. However, after discovering bloody rags in the trash can at the beach, officers searched again and were able to find some additional blood inside Kolalou's room.

Sandra Kolalou (previous mugshot) and Francis Walker (photo courtesy: Legal Help Firm)

Officers then discovered some of Walker's remains inside a freezer in the home.

Based on preliminary evidence, detectives believe Walker was killed in her bedroom and dismembered on the first floor of the residence.

Police say it appears the dismemberment could have possibly been done with "large butcher knives."

When explaining why no other tenants in the home had witnessed Walker being dismembered, CPD had this to say.

"The way the residence is set up, there's a couple apartments on the top floor – call it the second floor – and then on the floor where the victim lived, that is the same floor that Sandra resided on as well. And then there was a tenant in the basement. And there were deadbolts so people had privacy," said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan.

"The residents were very cooperative. When they heard the scream, when they woke up in the morning, they immediately started texting the victim … started calling the victim. The victim didn't answer. There were some texts that were sent back from the victim's phone. It appears from what we know now that the defendant was sending texts from the victim's phone and not answering it," he added.

Prosecutors alleged that shortly before Walker was last seen, she was heard arguing with Kolalou about being served an eviction notice. Kalalou's attorney, Sean Brown, said that was impossible because Kolalou was seen on surveillance video attending a birthday party at a hotel in Warrenville at the time the argument allegedly took place.

Police were called to the apartment multiple times by tenants about the welfare of Walker, who shared the unit with Kolalou, but left each time for lack of evidence of a crime.

Tenants in the building were so concerned, prosecutors said, that they later followed Kolalou to Foster Beach after she called a tow truck driver to bring her car from a parking lot there to a mechanic and saw her deposit a garbage bag in a trash container that was later found to contain bloody rags.

Kolalou was arrested after she allegedly threatened the tow truck driver with a knife when he refused to relocate her car after she was denied service by the mechanic and he called out for police, who were close by.

But Brown said the tow truck driver told reporters that "he did not see a knife and assumed she had a knife because he was fearful after receiving information from the tenants and the police that she had possibly harmed Walker."

Brown said in the absence of a threat, police had no probable cause to arrest Kolalou.