Another Cook County jail detainee who was freed during a mass release of prisoners as the COVID-19 outbreak began in March is now charged with committing a new felony. He is at least the fourth benefactor of the COVID release program to be charged with a new felony in recent days.
Zyan Damper, age 19, was initially arrested on August 21 last year after he and another man allegedly got out of a stolen car and committed a robbery near the Magnificent Mile, according to court records.
He posted bail on robbery and criminal trespass to vehicle charges, then got arrested again in October on charges of felony theft. He posted bail again and was arrested for another felony theft case in Chatham on December 22, according to CPD records.
As of March, Damper remained jailed in lieu of $175,000 bail, according to sheriff’s office records secured by CWBChicago. He would need to post $17,500 to get out on electronic monitoring.
But a judge reduced Damper’s bail to $10,000 and allowed him to go home by posting just $1,000 to help clear the jail of detainees this spring.
Damper returned to jail Saturday after a judge revoked his bail bonds because prosecutors say he illegally possessed a firearm.
At 10:30 a.m. Friday — exactly one year and four minutes after he was arrested in the Mag Mile robbery case — police pulled over a car for a traffic violation. Damper was in the back seat, and the car belongs to his mother, prosecutors said.
During a search of the vehicle, police allegedly found a gun under a cloth between the two front seats. Damper wasn’t charged with possessing that gun. He was charged with possessing the firearm that was lying under the first gun, according to prosecutors.
Damper admitted that the gun belonged to his mother and said he took it, an assistant state’s attorney said during bond court Saturday. His mother later came to the police station and identified the gun as hers, prosecutors said. She allegedly told police that she last saw her weapon at home earlier in the day.
Prosecutors charged Damper with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Judge John Lyke ordered Damper held without bail for violating the terms of the bond he posted to get out of jail. Lyke set bail in the new gun case at $2,000 and ordered Damper to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post bond.
The driver of the car, Demonte Jones, is charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon in connection with the first gun that police allegedly found in the vehicle. Jones is on probation for theft. Lyke ordered him held without bail for violating the terms of probation and set bail in the gun case at $3,000. Once the probation violation matter is resolved, Jones will be required to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post a $300 deposit bond.
Other COVID boomerangs
In the past 10 days, at least three other people who were freed from jail during the mass COVID release have been charged with committing new felonies:
- Joseph Perry, an accused robber who was released March 27, was charged last week with carjacking a man in Lincoln Park three months ago.
- Mario Williams, who was jailed on a burglary charge until authorities released him in late March, was charged with robbing a 10-year-old boy outside Union Station on August 13.
- Kevin Purdis, who had been jailed for burglary and a separate case involving three identity thefts, was arrested August 19 after police allegedly found nearly $3,000 worth of looted merchandise in his car.