Nearly freed prisoner accused in teen's 1989 death
ST. LOUIS – A man who was on the verge of being freed from prison after serving time for a drug conviction has been accused in the southwestern Illinois beating death of a teenage honor student nearly a quarter century ago.
St. Clair County prosecutors charged Carlos Garrett, 51, with first-degree murder in the death of Nicole Willis, whose partly clothed, bludgeoned body was found in October 1989 by her grandfather on a weedy lot near her home in Centreville, just east of St. Louis. Authorities and relatives said Willis – a high school junior committed to anti-drug efforts and on a quest to be homecoming queen and eventually a lawyer – had been abducted while walking home from her bus stop.
Garrett was jailed Thursday on $1 million bond.
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