By JORDAN OWEN
Chicago Sun-Times Wire
A North Center neighborhood man was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week for stabbing his best friend, Solomon Morales, to death in 2013 after a drunken argument over a marijuana plant he was growing.
Christopher Shoji, 28, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder before Judge Joseph Claps, according to Cook County court records.
Shoji stabbed the 24-year-old Morales to death on the morning of Oct. 8, 2013, authorities said at the time.
Shoji, Morales and a female friend were drinking in the woman’s apartment in the 2000 block of West Warner when Morales and Shoji started arguing about the marijuana plant Shoji was growing in his mother’s backyard, prosecutors said.
Morales yelled at Shoji about the plant and the fight soon turned physical, prosecutors said. The woman told the men to leave because she didn’t want to get evicted from her apartment over the commotion, and when she eventually separated the men, Morales left the apartment with a beer can.
Shoji grabbed a knife and followed Morales outside before stabbing him repeatedly in an alley, Croswell said. He told the woman he was scared Morales would “snitch” about his plant.
After Shoji stabbed Morales, he ran to his mother’s house and pulled the 4- to 5-foot marijuana plant out of the ground, prosecutors said. He then ran back to the friend’s apartment and hid with the plant in her closet, where police found him, prosecutors said. He had left the knife in his mother’s yard.
Morales, of the 4200 block of North Damen, died at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where his family took him after he was able to walk home, leaving a trail of blood, prosecutors said. He knocked on the door and collapsed.
Claps sentenced Shoji to 20 years in prison Thursday, according to court records. He was booked into the Stateville Correctional Center on Friday.
Shoji will receive credit for 969 days served in the Cook County Jail, and was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release.