Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Murder of Grant Nelson: an Uber driver who was killed by teenage passenger Eliza Wasni

Grant Nelson (34)

During the early morning hours of May 30th, 2017, an Uber driver named Grant Nelson (34) stumbled into a condominium in Skokie, Illinois and began banging on the lobby doors while screaming “Help me, help me! I’m going to die!” Grant appeared to have suffered numerous wounds to the right side of his arm, his torso, his head, and his chest. When police finally arrived on the scene, Grant was barely conscious, but he was able to tell them that he had been attacked by his passenger. His Uber app was still open, and his latest passenger was simply listed as “Eliza”.

Paramedics transferred Grant to a nearby hospital, where he later died. Meanwhile, police searched the scene for Grant’s assailant. After following a trail of blood, police located Grant’s vehicle, which had been abandoned after it was crashed into a median. Just a block away, police spotted a young woman crouched behind an air conditioning unit at an office complex. She was dressed in only a bra and leggings, and she was clutching a bloody knife and machete. As police approached her, they noticed she was actually a young girl. They demanded she put down her weapons, but she ignored them. Officers ultimately used a stun gun to take her into custody. Shortly thereafter, police were able to identify the girl as 16 year-old Eliza Wasni.

Eliza Wasni
Eliza did not have a history of violence prior to this incident, and many were baffled by what she had done. The attack was apparently completely unprovoked, and self-defense was ruled out. Investigators soon learned that Eliza had ordered the Uber from a nearby Wal-Mart in Skokie, so they looked at the store’s surveillance footage to try and piece together the events. The footage revealed that Eliza was dropped off at Wal-Mart by another Uber driver shortly before 3am. Surveillance footage from inside the store shows Eliza calmly walking through the store with a knife in one hand, and a machete in the other. Not a single person notices as Eliza walks out of the store without paying for either item. After exiting the store, Eliza ordered another Uber to come pick her up. Grant, who was just a block away, received Eliza’s Uber request at went to pick her up at 3:18am. Grant had not driven Eliza very far before she randomly began to attack him with the knife and machete she had stolen from Wal-Mart.

At this time, investigators have not released a possible motive for this crime. It seems quite likely that mental illness played a role, but further details about that have not been released. Since being taken into custody, Eliza has had several incidents with the guards at the detention facility that have involved her biting, kicking or hitting them. While she currently remains at a juvenile detention center, Eliza has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder. She is currently waiting further court proceedings.
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UPDATE (8/27/20): Eliza has pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Grant Nelson. Her guilty plea is the result of a deal from the prosecution that she accepted. As a result, Eliza was sentenced to 27 years in prison. She was also ordered to undergo continued health assessments.

Eliza has still not revealed what motivated the killing. 

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