County Jail Detainees Charged With Attempted Murder of Guard

Two Cook County detainees are being charged with attempted murder after an attack that left one guard hospitalized and two others injured. The attack occurred on April 14 during the height of the coronavirus lockdown. Dante Jeffries and Sharelle Sims were in the jail’s most secure wing. They have been charged with attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, and possession of contraband. The two will be arraigned on May 5.

What Happened?

A jail officer had allowed Jeffries to leave his cell to get a cup of water. After he got his drink, the prison guard says that Jeffries attacked him from behind and dragged him into his cell. The officer managed to fight his way out of the cell, but Jeffries again attacked him, placing him in a chokehold until he lost consciousness. 

Jeffries took the officer’s keys and handed them to Sims who began unlocking the cells of the other detainees in the max security wing. That was when another officer attempted to render aid to the man who had been dragged into Jeffries’ cell. A third officer attempted to confront Jeffries but was also attacked by Jeffries who punched him and knocked him to the ground. Jeffries then circled back to the officer who was rendering aid to the guard in his cell and attacked him. Eventually, corrections officers armed with tasers were able to regain control of the situation.

While neither man has been convicted of the crime for which they were incarcerated, Jeffries was being held on suspicion that he shot a Chicago police officer during an armed robbery. He also has convictions for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, drug possession, and domestic violence. 

Sims, who is only 23, is facing a weapons charge alongside charges of being a habitual criminal. 

Are They Being Overcharged?

From the article, there hardly seems to be enough evidence to warrant an attempted murder charge. Indeed, there appears to be very little evidence that Jeffries attempted to kill the first officer he attacked. He placed him in a chokehold, but also dragged him into his cell. A good defense attorney would be able to poke several holes into a charge of attempted murder. 

The second most serious crime that the pair are being charged with is aggravated battery and aggravated kidnapping. Aggravated battery does not require the presence of a weapon. In order to be convicted of aggravated battery, the prosecution needs to show that the battery resulted in “great bodily harm,” “permanent disability,” or “permanent disfigurement.” In cases of aggravated battery, the more severe the injuries suffered by the victim, the more severe the punishment. It is likely, since the officer ended up in the hospital, that the prosecution has enough evidence to charge the men with aggravated battery. However, since the battery occurred against law enforcement, the charges will be higher than if the battery occurred against another prisoner.

Talk to a Cook County Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal charges in Cook County, call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment.

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