Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

joris-v-541657-unsplash-copy-300x200Javier Garcia, the 22-year-old man who drove an SUV into the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, has been charged with terrorism. Illinois State Law defines terrorism as any act that causes more than $100,000 worth of damage to a building with five or more businesses inside of it. Unluckily for Garcia, malls apply. He faces a second count of criminal property damage.

Investigators say that this was a planned attack and that Garcia had searched for the Woodfield Mall, including aerial shots of the mall. He seemed particularly interested in Sears for some reason, but no motive for the act has yet been unearthed. 

Those who were there on the scene when Garcia drove his SUV through the mall recall the vehicle barrelling through kiosks and shoppers running panicked for their lives. Garcia was caught on video browsing in Sears, then he left the building and drove his vehicle into the store. Police said that Garcia narrowly missed a children’s train that had children riding on it. While no one was hit by the car itself, three people had to be taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

drew-patrick-miller-4560-unsplash-copy-300x111Judges have broad discretion when it comes to allowing defendants to represent themselves. In a recent case, a judge denied a pro se petition by Dwight Doty to represent himself in the slaying of a 9-year-old boy whose father was a member of a rival gang. But another recent case outlines the perils of getting what you wish for.

Jovan Battle, a homeless man who was accused of murdering an off-duty police officer was convicted after a jury determined he was culpable for the death of an officer and the wounding of his friend. While the case would have likely resulted in a conviction of some kind, it did not have to result in a first-degree murder conviction and several armed battery counts for which Battle will spend the rest of his life in prison. In fact, Battle never pulled the trigger or opened fire on anyone.

According to prosecutors, Battle mistook the police officer for some another person with whom he had had a fight earlier that night. He directed one of the two other men he was with that night to their car and that man opened fire, killing the officers and injuring his friend. Of course, none of that should have been disclosed to police during the interrogation, and yet all of it was, so it formed the basis of their first-degree murder charge against Battle.

max-bender-wJx-K1b7ZLI-unsplash-copy-240x300City officials are holding Lyft responsible after one of their drivers karate kicked a taxi driver, causing his death. The driver, Fangqi Lu, had previously been “deactivated” after punching one of his own customers in the face. The same driver then picked up a job driving for Uber weeks later during which he committed the fatal assault against Anis Tungekar. 

In this case, city officials are slapping Lyft with a fine for failing to disclose to authorities that one of their drivers committed an assault against a passenger. They are further alleging that had Lyft reported the crime to city officials, it would have prevented the death of Tungekar.

The city’s early warning system is aimed at weeding out violent drivers, but Lyft faces significant liability issues in an assault case. Lyft may have been attempting to avoid a hefty payout by failing to report the incident. Now, Lyft may face one lawsuit for the assault and another one for wrongful death.

samara-doole-259144-unsplash-copy-200x300The body of 2-year-old Kirien Knox was found dismembered in Garfield Park Lagoon. The shocking details of the slaying moved those who witnessed the photos to tears. The man charged with the murder, Kamel Harris, has pleaded not guilty.

According to the prosecution, the boy’s mother, Lanisha Knox, left her son with Harris and five others at an apartment while Knox headed out to set up a new life in Iowa, get jobs, and find an apartment. At some point, Harris stopped responding to calls or texts made by Knox.

Police and the prosecution believe that, at some point, Harris “snapped” and murdered the boy and then tried to dispose of the body. However, they did not list a cause of death. They did, however, indicate that Harris snapped because the boy cried incessantly after a “painful reaction to milk.”

robert-hickerson-38585-copy-200x30017-year-old Chastinea Reeves pleaded guilty to stabbing her own mother over 60 times. The girl was given a 45-year sentence for the slaying. Her mother, Jamie Garnett was found dead in her home. Reeves was 15 at the time of the murder and she was charged as an adult. The plea avoided the trial and a potential sentence of 65 years in prison had she been convicted of the murder. If she serves the full term, she will be 62 years old when she is released.

The state’s case appeared to the defense to be rock solid. The prosecution had the murder weapon with the victim’s blood on it and what they described as a “perfect” fingerprint. They also had two witnesses who were given plea deals and were willing to testify against Reeves at the trial.

Amber Alert Used to Apprehend Reeves

annie-spratt-1141166-unsplash-copy-200x300As evidence mounts against the parents of AJ Freund, the media frenzy around the case casts a shadow over the possibility that the Freunds will get a fair trial. According to police, the boy’s father Drew Freund told police that he “beat” the boy and administered cold showers as punishment. The police also indicated the father led investigators to the boy’s body in a remote location in Woodstock.

Physical evidence against the father continues to pile up. This includes a shovel, soil samples linking the shovel to the burial site, muddy shoes that could link the father to the burial site, and a search he performed on his phone concerning how to perform CPR on a child.

Police Have Begun Trying This Case in the Press

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201Erick Maya has successfully appealed his conviction by arguing that he suffered from ineffective assistance of counsel. This is despite the fact that he was represented by one of the most highly-regarded criminal defense attorneys in Illinois, George Lenard. Maya was accused and convicted of murdering Romeoville 15-year-old Briana Valle in 2014 in a highly publicized criminal trial. The case brought to light several issues in the age of the internet including Facebook stalking.

According to the prosecution, Valle met the young woman on Facebook when she was 13 years old. The two carried on a romantic relationship of sorts until, at some point, the relationship went downhill. The prosecution accused Maya of threatening to rape Valle and kill her family and then shoot her to death. They say that Maya then hired a taxi driver to bring him to Valle’s home. He got cold feet and left but, later, he went back and carried out his threat. He was charged in the murder of Briana Valle and the attempted murder of her other family members, including her mother whom he shot in the neck.

Attorneys for Maya appealed the verdict, which saw the defendant sentenced to 122 years for the murder and attempted murder. The appeals court has not yet overturned the verdict in the trial nor have they ordered a new trial. They did, however, rule against the circuit court’s decision that Maya received a fair defense.

mingyue-sun-153025-300x169A man involved in a bizarre love triangle was charged with murder after a shooting in Evanston. Sandoval Cobian, 38 years old, is facing murder charges after allegedly shooting his romantic rival in the north suburb. The Chicago native was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as reported by Evanston police.

On Friday, March 15, officers found Angel Miranda, 33 years old, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen and chest. He was located behind a residence in the 1800 block of Simpson Street and pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Miranda, who was a resident of the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, was visiting his girlfriend. She found him shot and called authorities. Investigators later learned Cobian and Miranda were romantically involved with the same woman. Police reported that Cobian shot Miranda because of jealousy and a “romantic rivalry.” Cobian was ordered held without bail. His next court date is set for the end of March.

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162A man was charged with attempted murder after a shootout in South Shore on the night of the Chicago mayoral election. 38-year-old Flamingo Jones was charged with attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. As stated by Cook County prosecutors, on February 26th at 7:30 p.m., police in plain clothes sitting in an unmarked cruiser were investigating an individual wanted on an arrest warrant. During the investigation, they saw Jones on the 7400 block of South Bennett Avenue.

Jones fled on foot after seeing the officers, who were wearing ballistic vests and badges that identified them as police. The officers gave chase, with one of them catching up to Jones. The officer saw Jones holding a firearm and ordered Jones to drop the weapon. Jones continued to run, jumping over a fence with the gun in hand.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini, the officer feared for his life and discharged his weapon but did not strike Jones. As he emerged from an alley, Jones aimed his weapon toward the officer, at which point the officer fired at Jones again. Jones fell to the ground and shot at the officer. He then fired at uniformed police as they arrived on the scene. The uniformed officers returned fire, shooting Jones in the feet.

Many residents of Chicago and the surrounding area view violent crime as something completely out of their control. Fighting violent crime in Chicago takes the coordinated effort of police and residents of the city.

So far this year, shootings and homicides have a downward trend according to police. To date, there have been 44 homicides compared to 80 at this point in 2018. That is a decrease of 55%. In January and February of this year, there were 214 shootings. The first two months of 2018 experienced 282. The number of people who were shot decreased to 253 in 2019 from 345 last year. There have been 40% fewer homicides compared to the same period last year.

Though the numbers have been dropping, Chicago is still plagued with a disproportionate amount of crime when compared to many other cities around the country. A violent crimes defense lawyer will be able to help with your case if you have been charged or arrested.