(Tribune) Four days after 76-year-old Vasudeva Kethireddy disappeared in early August, his son Shantan met with two brothers who lived in an Englewood apartment building his father owned.
Elijah and Tony Green exchanged hugs and handshakes with the younger Kethireddy, sharing hopes for his father’s safe return.
But the brothers knew his father was dead, according to Cook County prosecutors. They had lured the elder Kethireddy to their apartment and killed him as the Rolling Meadows grandfather was making his rounds collecting rent money at various properties.
The brothers used the cover of night to dump the body into the sewer in front of Kethireddy’s apartment building in the 6200 block of South May Street, prosecutors said.
Authorities discovered the remains after someone used one of the brother’s phones to search online how long it took a body to decompose in sewer water.
Judge Michael Clancy wasted little time denying bail for Elijah, 25, and Tony Green, 22, as they appeared side by side in front of him Monday on first-degree murder charges. The judge agreed with prosecutor’s contentions that the slaying had been committed in a “cold, calculated and premediated manner.”
Both men made videotaped statements to detectives admitting their planning and participating in Kethireddy’s death, along with disposal of his body in a sewer, prosecutors said.
After the hearing, Shantan Kethireddy, 40, said his father was an organized, meticulous man and a devout Hindu. He took pride in rehabbing old homes and renting them to people with troubled backgrounds. His drive to help came from his own hardscrabble upbringing in Hyderabad, India, his son said.
“He didn’t want to just let these properties to go to waste. But secondly, he wanted to help the people that he was renting to. These were people that nobody else would rent to and he would give people a chance.”
Shantan Kethireddy said he knew the Green brothers, who often called about things ranging from needing a new front door after police smashed the old one while serving a search warrant to fearing eviction because they didn’t have the rent money.
When he met them Aug. 8 at their apartment, Kethireddy said the brothers embraced him. “These were two brothers that were shaking my hand and giving me hugs, expressing their condolences,” he told reporters as he stood with community activist Andrew Holmes. “These are two brothers that have expressed a complete lack of morality, and I’m hoping in their jail sentence maybe they’ll find some humanity.”
The brothers were arrested over the weekend after Kethireddy’s body was pulled from the sewer Friday. Rolling Meadows police, who began a missing persons investigation in August, were able to obtain the victim’s phone and financial records.
They began working with Chicago police and city water department officials after learning of the online search on a phone belonging to Tony Green.
Prosecutors said a witness overheard the brothers planning Kethireddy’s murder the day before it allegedly happened on Aug. 4.
Tony Green was to lure Kethireddy to the apartment for a leaky roof, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamison Berger said. Green had called him several times the day before and on the day of the murder, he said. When Kethireddy arrived that Saturday, Tony Green led him to the rear of the apartment while Elijah snuck up behind and grabbed the older man in a chokehold until he died, Berger said.
A witness saw Elijah Green bringing Kethireddy’s body out the back door, then both brothers carrying it to the back seat of the victim’s white 2005 Toyota Prius. The brothers took $1,600 in cash from Kethireddy’s car and his credit cards, which were later used at businesses near the brothers’ apartment building, according to Berger.
Unable to find a place to dump the body, they returned home and left it in the car covered by a sheet. Later that evening, they parked the Prius in front of their apartment and lifted a sewer lid and placed Kethireddy’s body inside, Berger said.
After the hearing, a girlfriend of one of the brothers said the details she heard in court didn’t match the man she’s known.
“He’s not this type of way,” said Antonesha Clinton, who is expecting Elijah Green’s first child. “He’s sweet, he loves my kid like it’s his son. He’s nice, he’s kind. When I first met him, he was everything.
“In my heart … I don’t think he’d ever in my life do anything like that,” she added. “I can’t see him doing anything like that.”
Article Org: chicagotribune.com