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No charges in 2013 Aurora stabbing death

Updated: March 25, 2014 6:14AM

A “companion” of Lamar House acted in self-defense during a September 2013 altercation that left the 31-year-old Aurora man dead, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said late Friday in announcing that no charges will be filed in the case.

House, 31, died of a perforated aorta after he was stabbed with what prosecutors described as the “pointed handle end of a 12-inch plastic comb” during an early morning altercation that turned violent with his companion, who previously had been described by authorities as House’s 19-year-old girlfriend.

McMahon said House “battered and restrained” the companion when he was struck in the left side of the chest. The woman called 911 and told the dispatcher she thought House was having an asthma attack, according to court records. Emergency responders arrived to find House unconscious on the floor of a bedroom inside a North Ohio Street residence.

McMahon said Aurora police conducted a thorough investigation and that top prosecutors in his office reviewed a variety of evidence and facts before he ultimately decided to not charge the companion.

“We considered all the evidence available, including statements by Mr. House’s companion, who we interviewed multiple times. ... Aurora police conducted a thorough, months-long investigation. ... They put forth great effort in trying to recreate the most complete picture of what happened that night to Mr. House,” McMahon said in a statement. “I concluded that the evidence strongly suggests that Mr. House’s death was the result of an act of self-defense, that his companion was trying to prevent further harm.

“Given the facts as we know them, we cannot in good conscience proceed with a criminal prosecution,” McMahon said.

In its own statement, Aurora police said it is the department’s job with all felony crimes to “thoroughly investigate and provide its findings” to prosecutors, who decide whether to pursue charges.

“The state’s attorney can then either authorize or decline to authorize charges, and in this incident they did not find charges were appropriate,” police said.

McMahon, who spoke with the House family Friday afternoon, expressed his condolences to them and acknowledged “this is not the news they wanted to hear.”

According to a search warrant affidavit filed on Sept. 4, 2013, in Kane County, the woman called 911 at 3:45 a.m. on Sept. 3 to report that House was having difficulty breathing, possibly having an asthma attack.

House had stopped breathing and lost consciousness by the time paramedics and police arrived, the affidavit said.

What appeared to be crack cocaine was found by police next to House’s body, and the bedroom near where they found him was in disarray, police said.

According to the affidavit, written by Detective Joseph Thompson of the Aurora Police Department, the woman told police she and House had gotten into a physical argument and that House was “whooping on her.” She also stated that she struck House during the altercation.

House was transported to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A small puncture wound was located above his left clavicle, and an X-ray revealed blood had filled his chest cavity, police said.

The woman was taken into custody for questioning. She was released later that evening when no charges were filed, the affidavit said.

A juvenile witness at the home told police he could hear the woman and House arguing in a bedroom during the early morning hours. When he tried to enter the room, the door was locked, he said. When the woman eventually opened the door for the juvenile witness, he said he saw House on the floor, straining to breathe, and saw blood coming from his mouth. The woman called 911 and asked the juvenile to get a neighbor for help, according to the affidavit.

The witness told police that he had seen the woman throw items at House during their previous arguments, which could explain a broken television found in the room.

Another witness, who was sleeping downstairs in the home, told police he observed the woman performing CPR on House.

Police said that the woman involved had reddening on the inside of her upper lip and swelling to her forehead. Her shirt had a reddish stain near its neckline as well, police said.

Deputy Coroner L. Gilbert told police that the puncture wound to House appeared to have been cleaned, as there was no blood found around the wound.

During the search of the home, an orange plastic comb was recovered, along with a broken broomstick, DNA evidence, several cellphones and a knife.

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