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Chicago family battles to evict ‘professional squatter’

Chicago family battles to evict ‘professional squatter’

A “professional squatter” with a long rap sheet has taken up residence in the home of a Chicago woman who recently died – and her family has been unable to kick him out for six months because of the overburdened court system.

Darthula Young’s mother, who owned the duplex in the South Side neighborhood of Chatham for over 30 years, died last year and the property was transferred to her daughter and her siblings, CBS Chicago reported.

“On Sept. 23, I got a call from the neighbors to say there’s been a shooting in the building — and when I went to the building and put my key in, it didn’t work,” Young told the outlet.

She discovered a bullet hole in the front window and realized that the lock had been changed.

“The person who had been shot in the apartment, this guy named Takito Murray, came back from the hospital and informed us and the police that he now lived there — that he had rights,” she said.

“He was a professional squatter,” Young added.

Chicago resident Darthula Young
Chicago resident Darthula Young, who has been trying to kick out “professional squatter” Takito Murray from the home left behind by her late mother.

Young's late mother, who was not named
Young’s late mother owned the duplex in the South Side neighborhood of Chatham for over 30 years.
Courtesy of Family

She said she called the cops, who told her their hands were tied and advised her to seek an eviction through the overburdened court system.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Young, who hired an attorney, told CBS Chicago.

Murray, who has been arrested on drug and weapons charges at least six times since 2017, told the outlet that he was “in the process of finding somewhere to stay,” adding, “You can’t just move like that.”

Asked when he plans to leave the premises, he said: “Hopefully, by the beginning of May or April — sometime in April. We’ve been looking.”

The home in Chicago where a squatter has taken up residence
The property on Vernon Avenue near 80th Street in Chatham.
Google Maps

"Professional squatter" Takito Murray
“Professional squatter” Takito Murray claims he will move out soon.

The intruder is apparently staying in the home with a woman who was seen leaving the building.

But Young said the man has told her multiple times that he expects to leave shortly — and still hasn’t.

“Every time I’ve been there, he tells me he’s leaving in two weeks. He’s leaving in two weeks. He just cannot find a place,” she told the news outlet.

Murray claimed he rented the home from one of Young’s siblings, but could not provide CBS Chicago with any written proof.

“I guess I acknowledge — her mom and her siblings, that was their building,” he said, adding that he assumed Young called him a squatter because “she is trying to get us out of there faster.”

Michael Zink, a landlord-tenant attorney who is not involved in the dispute, told the outlet that “evictions in Chicago — whether it’s about squatters or anything else — are taking approximately six to eight months.”

Landlord-tenant attorney Michael Zink
Landlord-tenant attorney Michael Zink said evictions in Chicago take up to eight months.

He said squatter cases are on the rise partly because people know they can live rent-free for months.

“The problem that police have is when they show up to a scene like that, they don’t know who is telling the truth,” Zink told CBS Chicago.

Young said she has been unable to sell the property because of Murray’s presence.

Meanwhile, the Windy City has refused to turn off the water service in the building – leaving Young with a bill for more than $1,300, according to the report.

Earlier this month, another family faced a similar predicament in the same neighborhood.

Karen Polk decided it was time to sell her family’s bungalow after he mother died, but a squatter snuck in and refused to leave, WGN-TV reported.

The squatters claimed they signed a lease and paid several months’ rent up front to a person who told them he owned the property.

“This all started in September but we didn’t get a court date until mid-December,” Polk told the outlet. “And that particular session, none of the occupants showed up. That’s just how the process goes. If they don’t show up, another court date is assigned.”