A 38-year-old Wheaton man has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of his brother-in-law early Sunday morning in a Wheaton apartment on North Main Street, authorities said.
Pi Lat is being held on $3 million bail after authorities said he stabbed A Bawi, 39, in the chest while the victim slept.
DuPage County Assistant State's Attorney Mandy Meindl said police received two 911 calls at 6:24 a.m. Sunday, one from a neighboring apartment and the other from a woman who said, "My brother killed my husband."
Officers arrived to find Lat standing in the living room by Bawi's body, which was lying "in a large pool of blood," Meindl said. Bawi was taken to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where he was pronounced dead. Lat was immediately taken into custody at the scene.
The victim's wife told police she heard a loud noise and walked into the living room to see her husband standing with a knife sticking out of his chest, authorities said. She said Lat was standing nearby with a second knife in his hand, authorities said.
"She tried to get the second knife from her brother, and her husband pulled the (other) knife out of his own chest and collapsed," Meindl said.
The woman ran to a neighbor's apartment to get help and put both knives in a bedroom, where they later were recovered.
At the hospital, Lat, a Burmese immigrant, told authorities through an interpreter that he had hurt his brother-in-law, authorities said. In an interview with police, he admitted to stabbing Bawi while the man slept, authorities said.
Meindl said Lat was on probation for a misdemeanor charge. In that case, authorities said, he struck his wife with a folding chair and tried to choke her after she declined sex.
His public defender said Lat originally spoke Burmese to an interpreter but by Monday wasn't speaking a language anyone could understand. Lat has a valid green card, authorities said.
Wheaton police refused to release any information about the case until the bail hearing Monday afternoon, saying only that it was an "isolated incident." The apartment building where the slaying occurred is adjacent Northside Park, a popular spot with families.
Less than four hours before Lat's appearance in bond court, police and city spokeswoman Arin Thrower still maintained their silence even though the DuPage County coroner's office had reported a body had been found.
"Due to the isolated and contained nature of this crime, initial details were not shared beyond assuring the community there was no additional danger," Wheaton Police Chief Bill Murphy said in a statement after the court hearing. "Limiting the release of information ensures the integrity of the investigation while respecting the victim, the victim's family, and the criminal justice process."
Lat would have to post the required 10 percent of his bail to be released from DuPage County jail. He also would have to submit to electronic monitoring, among other conditions of a release.
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