In 1990, Nigerian native Abdulrafiu Shokunbi shot and killed a bystander during a street confrontation with the brother of a woman he'd approached, according to police. Shokunbi was arrested but released on $3,000 cash bond, and fled across the border. In 1993, he was convicted of first-degree murder in absentia, but by then, U.S. authorities had lost track of him.
Still, the Tribune found, Shokunbi signed 1999 Cook County land papers transferring his suburban Chicago home to his wife, and his relatives still live there.
Those public land papers list Shokunbi's legal contact in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. Yet authorities never challenged Shokunbi's financial transaction — despite a $30,000 court judgment against him for the unpaid bond — or even gave any indication that they were even aware of the deal.
Shokunbi remains a fugitive today.
Shokunbi's wife, Gwen, declined in a brief telephone conversation to comment on how her husband was able to transfer the home while a fugitive, or what she knew then or now about his whereabouts. "The case is closed," Gwen Shokunbi said.
The family of Shokunbi's victim had no idea of the financial transaction. Still distraught about the unresolved case, they said they have not been contacted by authorities for years and have no indication that the case is still being pursued.
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