Deandre Minkens and Shante Thomas

Deandre Minkens and Shante Thomas (Cook County Sheriff's office)

A Calumet City man and his longtime girlfriend conspired to kill a woman who was carrying his child so he would not have to be a father, police and prosecutors said today.

And their signal to spring the plot was turning up the volume on the song, "I Hate You," they said.

Deandre Minkens, 20, of Calumet City and Shante Thomas, 19, of Chicago, a longtime couple who worked together at a fast-food restaurant, are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Rosemary Newman.

Minkens drove to meet Newman for dinner Saturday night with Thomas hidden in his car. After dinner, Thomas and Minkens beat and strangled Newman and left her in a Calumet City-area forest preserve, authorities said this morning. The two then went to a nightclub after the killing.

In an appearance this morning before Cook County Judge Darron Bowden in Markham Branch Court, Minkens was ordered held without bail and Thomas ordered held in lieu of $3 million bail.

On Sunday, Newman, 18, was found strangled in a Cook County forest preserve near Freeland Avenue and Warren Street in Calumet City, her partially clothed body lying next to some bushes, authorities said.

Newman was nine months pregnant and her baby was due in early May, her family said. Her family and prosecutors identified Minkens as Newman's boyfriend and the father of her unborn child.

Minkens and Thomas, his long-time girlfriend, conspired to kill Rosemary so he would not have to be a father, Assistant State’s Attorney Lynnette Cusack said in court today.

"This was very cold blooded. Very calculated. Very very tragic," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said in a news conference following the bond hearing.

There had been tension among Newman, Thomas and Minkens, Dart said. But Newman held on to hope that her child's father would eventually do right by her, Dart said.

On Saturday, Newman showered, dressed, scribbled a note to her family and left the house around 10:30 p.m. to meet Minkens, her brother said earlier this week. Minkens met Newman for dinner at an Applebee's restaurant in Crestwood, Cusack said in court today. Newman called her mother and told her she was at the restaurant with Minkens, said Cusack—something her family had told reporters earlier this week.

Meanwhile, as Minkens and Thomas planned, Thomas was waiting in the trunk of Minkens’ car, Dart said in his news conference. As Minkens and Newman left the restaurant in his car, Minkens played a song titled "I hate you" repeatedly on the car stereo. At one point he turned up the volume, signaling to Thomas to crawl out of the trunk and strangle Newman, Dart said.

In the car, Thomas strangled Newman with a cellphone cord while Minkens hit and punched her. This continued as they drove to the forest preserve. Newman fought for her life as Minkens and Thomas kept her locked in the car while they beat and choked her, Dart said.

At the forest preserve, Minkens carried Newman from the car. She was still alive, Dart said, but Minkens and Thomas strangled her and beat her until she died, he continued.

They then left her body in the forest preserve and went to a nightclub, Dart said.

According to Alsip police, Newman's mother reported the teen missing Sunday morning, a few hours after a man walking his dog discovered Newman's body.

The Cook County medical examiner found evidence Newman had been strangled and her death had been ruled a homicide.

Minkens, of the 300 block of 156th Place in Calumet City, was arrested Thomas' home in the 2300 block of West Touhy Avenue on Monday, and Thomas was arrested there on Tuesday, authorities said, correcting earlier information that Minkens was arrested at his home. Minkens also has been charged with obstructing a peace officer during his arrest.

Dart said one of the defendents was more cooperative than the other after their arrests. In court, Cusack said Thomas told detectives what happened.

Although Minkens denied to detectives that he had even seen Newman on Saturday night, witnesses at the restaurant confirmed that Minkens and Newman were there together, Dart said.

Minkens and Thomas have been dating for some time, and work together at a fast-food restaurant, Dart said. Thomas lives in Chicago with her mother, and is a senior at Sullivan High School in Rogers Park, Dart said.

Minkens is on probation on a theft conviction, and he had a probation violation for a charge of cruelty to children out of Georgia, prosecutors said.

He attended high school up until the 11th grade.

Services for Newman were scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. at Gatlings Funeral Chapel, 10133 S. Halsted St.

lbowean@tribune.com