NIU junior found murdered

By Maria Tortorello

Anna Beverly was preparing to return to a promising academic career at NIU when her plans were tragically thwarted by a U-Haul employee whom she met while arranging a rental to bring her belongings back to school.

Officials found the 21-year-old sociology student dead last Monday afternoon after her father, Andy Beverly, discovered her body when he returned from work.

Beverly was a high school honors student who would have been entering her junior year at NIU.

Michael Waller, Lake County State’s Attorney said 23-year-old Mario Tennyson of Zion, Ill. confessed to strangling the girl with a telephone cord.

Tennyson, a U-Haul employee, was arrested Tuesday after police found the Beverlys’ stolen car parked outside his mother’s house in Lithonia, Ga. Tennyson did not resist arrest, authorities said.

According to Waller, Tennyson was brought to Illinois from Georgia Thursday night to appear for his first Illinois court date Friday morning.

Lake County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Fritz ordered Tennyson, a former navy sailor, to be held on $750,000 bond.

“In this case, he faces charges of first-degree murder,” Waller said.

Beverly met Tennyson a month ago, when she needed to rent a van from the U-Haul service Tennyson worked at in Waukegan.

The relationship between the two was nothing more than an occasional phone call or get-together.

On Monday morning, Beverly agreed to meet Tennyson at a fast-food restaurant in Waukegan. Later, the two went to Beverly’s house, where Tennyson strangled Beverly with a telephone cord.

Authorities still are unsure of Tennyson’s motives for strangling the girl.

Beverly was a student whose studies were always a priority.

“She (Beverly) was a fairly good student,” said Keenan Grenell, who taught an African-American Political Thought class Beverly attended. “She was quiet, but she was a serious student.”

Beverly graduated from North Chicago High School in 1991 as an honors student, with a 3.75 grade point average, said James Dew, North Chicago High School principal.

“The classes here at North Chicago High School are not weighted,” Dew said. “Had they been weighted, she would have exceeded a 4.0 grade point average.”

Dew also indicated that Beverly was involved in academic extracurricular activities, such as National Honor Society.

Beverly was voted most likely to succeed by her high school class.

“She (Beverly) was a fairly good student. She was quiet but she was a serious student.”

-Keenan Grenell NIU Professor