Bail denied for Arlington Heights teen in slaying of father

Bail was denied this morning for the son of a man found duct-taped to a chair and stabbed to death, while the son's three alleged accomplices were ordered held on bail ranging from $1.5 million to $3 million.

Mathew Nellesen, 19, appeared in Cook County court along with Marlon Green, Armon Braden and Azari Braden. Green was ordered held on $3 million bail, Armon Braden on $2 million bail and Azari Braden on $1.5 million.

Nellessen stands accused of killing his father in what police said was a robbery-turned-grisly killing.

The father, 55, was found dead Thursday in his home in the 1000 block of North Wilshire Lane in northwest suburban Arlington Heights, gagged, bound to a chair with duct tape and with a bag over his head, authorities said.

Nellessen was taken into custody after he abruptly left the home when police were called and led police on a chase, authorities said.

An autopsy conducted Friday determined that Nellessen died of multiple sharp-force injuries and his death was ruled a homicide. Police said he suffered neck and head trauma.

"He didn't deserve to die the way he did," George Nellessen's mother, Betty Zak, 75, said, shocked that her son may have died at the hands of "his own flesh and blood."

"I just hope he didn't suffer."

Zak said her son, who loved golf, the outdoors and tending to his yard, earned everything he had working as a tool-and-die maker.

"George had a good life, but he worked for it," she said.

His work also supported Mathew and provided him with a car, despite years as a "troublemaker" and a series of drug-related arrests and several criminal convictions, Zak said.

"His father gave him everything," she said. "He gave him too much."

And the two seemed to have a turbulent relationship.

Cook County records show that George Nellessen was charged in July 2010 with domestic battery after his son accused his dad of punching him in the mouth. The charges were dropped because Mathew Nellessen, the complaining witness, did not show up for court, records show.

Cook County court records show the younger Nellessen has a criminal history, with various drug-related charges and other convictions.

In May 2009, Mathew Nellessen, who lived in the Wilshire Lane home, pleaded guilty to deceptive practices, a misdemeanor.

In September 2009, he pleaded guilty to residential burglary, a felony. He was sentenced to boot camp, but, according to Cook County sheriff's spokesman Steve Patterson, he was denied admission after undergoing a physical and mental health evaluation. Nellessen later was sentenced to two years of treatment by a social service agency that serves people in the criminal justice system who have substance abuse or mental health issues. He was expected back in court for that case April 22.

Zak said her son, who was left a widower after his wife, Laura, died of cancer in 2004, was saddened by Mathew Nellessen's run-ins with the law.

"He was always hoping the kid would straighten out," she said.

Two of the men charged in the slaying also have criminal records in Cook County, court records show.

Green, 20, of the 4200 block of South St. Lawrence Avenue, has been charged with crimes several times and has been convicted of felony robbery, misdemeanor theft and mob action, according to Cook County records.

Braden, 20, of the 700 block of East 83rd Street, has been charged with crimes several times but only has been convicted of felony robbery, Cook County court records show.

Braden, 19, of the 2000 block of South Michigan Avenue, also was charged in George Nellessen's slaying, police said.

Arlington Heights police said Mathew Nellessen and the three Chicago men hatched a plan to rob his father, police said in a news release.

Authorities believe George Nellessen was dead for some time before he was discovered, a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said.

"Imagine my son lying there for two days, dead," said Zak, who lives in Arizona.

Investigators are looking at whether the suspects used the victim's credit card, a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said.

"It is a tragedy," Zak said. "You always think it happens to someone else. Now it's here on our door."

Schlikerman is a Tribune reporter, and Houde is a freelance reporter.

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