Court Report: Sentences Handed Down In Local Cases

Here are some recent sentences handed down in cases that you read about on CWBChicago:


• There is serious prison time ahead for a 22-year-old South Side man who burglarized a Lakeview home one month after being released on parole.

Kaabarr Venson, 23, pleaded guilty to burglarizing the home in the 1700 block of West Melrose on September 21, 2016. He had been paroled August 17 after serving a fraction of two 6-year sentences that he received for a 2012 armed robbery and harassing a juror or witness.

Judge William O’Brien sentenced Venson to 15-years in prison. He is scheduled to be paroled on March 13, 2026.


• A 53-year-old massage therapist accused of inappropriately touching a woman during services at a Lakeview spa in September has reached a plea deal.

Ketan Bhatt pleaded guilty to battery in the case that saw him accused of touching the side of a 35-year-old woman’s breast and rubbing her hand with his erect penis during a massage on September 11.

Judge Clarence Burch sentenced Bhatt to one-year of court supervision.

Paiz (L) and Ledbetter

• Two North Center men who were scooped up after authorities found $36,000 worth of pot and liquid THC during a narcotics raid have each pleaded guilty to one count of manufacture-delivery of cannabis.

Cops raided Graham Ledbetter and Jose Paiz’s apartment above a late-night pizza shop in September, recovering nearly six pounds of suspected cannabis and just under one pound of suspected THC oil in Paiz’s bedroom along with scales, vacuum sealing supplies, a replica firearm, an alleged narcotics sales ledger, and $1,667 cash, prosecutors said.

In another bedroom, cops said they found just over a pound of suspect cannabis; two narcotics grinders; three replica firearms; and a bundle of $1,200 cash along, letters to a man named Graham Ledbetter, and a handwritten note that said, “GRAHAM, YOU A BITCH!”

Judge Timothy Chambers approved the plea agreement.


• An Englewood man who was charged with threatening two men and one of their teenage sons with a knife in Boystown this summer received a sentenced of eight days in jail Three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon were dropped in exchange for his plea.

24-year-old Deonte Jackson was accused of becoming verbally aggressive toward the victims outside of Taco Burrito Palace, 3507 North Halsted. He then followed the three to a nearby parking lot while clutching a knife near his waistband, asking “Do you have a problem?” according to prosecutors.

Cops responded quickly and found Jackson moments later in the 700 block of West Brompton. Officers found a knife in his possession, and all three victims identified Jackson, cops said.

Cook County Judge Anthony Calabrese okayed the plea deal.


• A 20-year-old man who was charged with five felony weapons counts after police who stopped him for jumping a CTA turnstile found a gun in his backpack has been sentenced to two-years of first-time gun offender probation.

Tevin Gentry walked through the handicap-accessible gate instead of paying a fare at the Roosevelt station in July and a custodial police search of his backpack revealed a fully-loaded Smith & Wesson 9-millimeter handgun with a 30-round magazine that contained 22 live bullets.

Judge James Linn signed off on the deal that allowed Gentry to plead guilty to one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon while four other felonies were dropped.


• It’s back to prison for 55-year-old veteran pickpocket and all-around thief Lawrence Steele. Steele was accused of stealing a woman’s purse as they rode westbound on a #77 Belmont bus in August. He jumped off the bus with the woman’s property at the Western Avenue stop—directly into a hoard of Chicago police officers who had been deployed to counter an “Antifa” demonstration.

He was quickly apprehended.

Cook County Judge Charles Burns sentenced Steele to 30-months behind bars for the caper.

In November 2014, Steel was sentenced to two years in prison for (this may sound familiar) reaching into a woman’s purse and stealing her wallet while riding a #22 Clark bus in Lakeview. Altogether, Steele has been sentenced to prison for theft on 18 separate occasions since 1982. He also picked up sentences for robbery and narcotics along the way.

You may be seeing Steele on a CTA bus soon. A parole date of November 9, 2018, has been set.


• The second man accused of robbing and beating a Lakeview architect on the Harrison Red Line station platform has reached a deal.

19-year-old Denzal Price of Brighton Park was accused of repeatedly punching the victim in the face after the man refused to let him use his phone in August. At the same time, 30-year-old Nathaniel Nash of the West Loop tried to rip away the victim’s shoulder bag, prompting the man to ask, “What do you want?”

When one of the men said, “money,” the victim pulled out his wallet, but it fell to the ground because he being “was continually punched and kicked by the offenders,” police said. The victim was treated for a broken facial bone, black eyes, and abrasions at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Price received 24-months probation in the deal that was overseen by Judge Michael McHale. Nash previously received a two-year prison sentence for his role in the crime.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is