Charges upgraded to first-degree murder for California man allegedly involved in Oakbrook Terrace death


Charges have been upgraded to first-degree murder against a California man who fatally beat a man in the parking lot of an Oakbrook Terrace motel, according to a DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office news release.

Terry Kennedy, 36, of Long Beach, Calif., initially was charged with one count of aggravated battery after allegedly punching Josiah Kassahun, 23, in the face, causing Kassahun to fall and strike his head on the pavement late last month.

On July 28, Kennedy appeared at a bond hearing where bond was set at $100,000. Three days later, Kassahun died from injuries allegedly sustained in the beating. On Aug. 2, Kennedy was charged with one count of first-degree murder in addition to the existing count of aggravated battery, the release stated.

Kennedy appeared at a bond hearing Monday where Judge Michael Reidy set bond at $1 million.

On July 27, at approximately 11:05 a.m., Oakbrook Terrace police responded to a call of an assault at the Comfort Suites Motel, 17W445 Roosevelt Road. Police found Kassahun on the ground in the parking lot unconscious and bleeding from the head. He was immediately taken to a local hospital by Oakbrook Terrace paramedics.

Following an investigation into Kassahun’s beating, it is alleged that in the morning hours of July 27, Kennedy, Kassahun and Kennedy’s ex-girlfriend checked out of a room at the Comfort Suites Motel and were walking to Kennedy’s ex-girlfriend’s car when Kennedy became enraged for no apparent reason, the release stated.

Kassahun allegedly told Kennedy to calm down, and Kennedy punched Kassahun in the face, causing Kassahun to fall to the ground and strike his head on the pavement. Kennedy then allegedly kicked Kassahun in his torso before fleeingt he scene in his ex-girlfriend’s car, according to the release.

Wheaton police located Kennedy in Wheaton and arrested him after a short chase. Kassahun underwent emergency surgery and was subsequently transported to Rush Hospital in Chicago. He was placed on life support and succumbed to his injuries on July 31. The findings of an autopsy conducted by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office led to the upgraded charges.

“On July 27, 2021, Terry Kennedy allegedly punched Josiah Kassahun after becoming enraged for no apparent reason, causing Josiah to strike his head on the pavement,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the release.”I offer my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Kassahun as they mourn this senseless loss of life.”

“I would also like to extend my sincere condolences to Mr. Kassahun’s family and friends as they cope with this terrible tragedy,” Oakbrook Terrace Chief of Police, Casey Calvello said in the release. “I know that nothing will bring Josiah back, but I hope that the charges brought against the defendant offer some measure of comfort to his loved ones.”

Kennedy’s next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 23 for arraignment.