South Side Woman Murders Family Acquaintance for $10K Life Insurance Policy

A South Side woman who stood to gain $10,000 from the death of a family friend has been charged in the man’s murder.

Michael Newell, 52, was fatally shot in his head while delivering food in Garfield Ridge on Dec. 16. Months earlier, prosecutors said, he named family friend and one-time roommate Layla Enriquez the beneficiary of a $10,000 life-insurance policy.

Though police initially described the murder as a robbery gone wrong, prosecutors on Friday said Enriquez, 27, was captured on surveillance video driving a gunman to the scene and fleeing with the shooter after Newell’s murder.

Newell, a delivery driver from Archer Heights, was asked to deliver food in the 5100 block of South Long Street about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 16, assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Ed Murillo said during a bond hearing.

When Newell arrived, prosecutors said, residents told Newell they hadn’t ordered any food.

Around the same time, Enriquez parked her 2001 Nissan Maxima nearby at 52nd Street and Lorel Avenue, Murillo said. A male accomplice, who was not named in court, stepped out of Enriquez’s car and walked toward Newell, who had just gotten back into his own vehicle.

According to prosecutors, the accomplice opened Newell’s car door and fatally shot the man once in his head following a brief struggle. Newell’s car lurched forward and crashed into several parked vehicles.

Surveillance video shows the accomplice getting back into Enriquez’s car, a Nissan, and fleeing the scene with her, Murillo said.

Newell was pronounced dead at 8:51 p.m. Dec. 16, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Prosecutors described Newell as a family friend of Enriquez’s parents. Enriquez and Newell previously lived together, Murillo said, but were residing separately by December.

Eight months earlier, in April, Newell took out a $10,000 life insurance on himself and named Enriquez the beneficiary, prosecutors said. Surveillance video and cellphone-tower records place her at the scene of Newell’s murder.

Enriquez was arrested this week and charged with first-degree murder.

Cook County Judge James Brown set bail at $2 million.

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