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Joliet police questioned jailed man about homicide

Police have confirmed that a man in jail on a $1 million bond since Thursday has been questioned about the homicide of Sonja Underwood.

The case is still under investigation.

Ben E. Rockett, 69, was brought to the Joliet Police Department by detectives on Wednesday for questioning regarding the homicide that occurred that day in the 200 block of Illinois Street, Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English said.

The next day, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charges and a judge issued a warrant for Rockett’s arrest on charges of armed habitual criminal and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, English said.

“Investigation into this incident is still active and the Will County State’s Attorney is reviewing the case for further possible charges,” English said.

Rockett was taken to the Will County jail shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday and his bond was set at $1 million.

Police have not said what role, if any, Rockett had in Underwood’s death.

Ben Rockett

Ben Rockett (Will County Sheriff’s Office/)

Rockett lived in the same residence with Sonja Underwood, 56, landlord Sue Reynolds said.

“Her and Benny were my tenants,” she said.

Reynolds said police “told me she died and then said they are questioning him (Rockett).”

Reynolds said another tenant at the house told police that she heard people arguing at about 6 a.m. the day of Underwood’s death.

At 6:44 a.m. that day, officers responded to a report that someone had been shot at the house, Joliet police said in a news release. Officers found Underwood dead when they arrived.

Reynolds described Underwood as a “nice woman” and a “sweetheart” who was very calm and soft-spoken.

Underwood had been taking care of Rockett, who suffered a stroke about three months ago, Reynolds said.

“It’s so sad. She was really a nice lady,” Reynolds said.

On Thursday, the coroner’s office said Underwood’s autopsy had been completed, and preliminary findings showed she suffered a gunshot wound.

A residence at the corner of South Illinois Street and Darcy Avenue on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Resident Victoria Hayes said she saw multiple police squad vehicles and ambulances at the residence.

A residence at the corner of South Illinois Street and Darcy Avenue on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Resident Victoria Hayes said she saw multiple police squad vehicles and ambulances at the residence. (Felix Sarver/Joliet)

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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