Nearly a year after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans declared “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under his affordable bail initiative, CWBChicago continues to find plenty of cases to dispute his claim.
As Chicago’s homicide rate soared this year, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx tweeted in July, “the excessive violence of the past 2 months has been an anomaly.” The following month, August, was among the worst for homicides in Chicago since the 1950s, and subsequent months have also shown substantial increases compared to previous years.
Here are a few more recent examples of people accused of committing violent crimes while free on “affordable bail” for felonies.
Murder on an I-Bond
First up, there’s Jazon Stewart-Overall. On July 25, he was charged with two felony narcotics counts and carrying a BB gun in the Austin neighborhood. Police said he threw his hands in the air and said, “I just have a BB gun on me,” as they approached him on the street.
He also had three baggies of suspected crack cocaine and 12 baggies of heroin, prosecutors said. Judge Charles Beach released him on his own recognizance the next day.
Two months later, on September 30, Stewart-Overall used a real gun to fatally shoot Dalon Russell in the 200 block of North Central, prosecutors said. According to allegations in court records, a woman with Russell “jump[ed] out of the way of the gunfire” to avoid being shot.
Stewart-Overall, 19, is now charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. He’s being held without bail.
Murder on monitoring
Henry Hughes, 26, was charged with felony aggravated battery of a child causing great bodily harm and felony domestic battery causing harm with prior convictions on January 28. Prosecutors said he beat a 7-year-old girl in her face and body with a belt. Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $2,000 and released him on GPS electronic monitoring.
He was still on electronic monitoring three months later when he shot and killed 25-year-old Michael Upshaw in the 2100 block of South Central Park, prosecutors said. He’s now being held without bail.
When Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans calculates the number of people who commit violent crimes while on bail for earlier violent crimes, he does not include domestic violence cases in the math, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Jamal Sharrieff, 28, was on parole when police allegedly found him carrying a loaded firearm in his hoodie as officers broke up a street party in July 2019. Sharrieff, who cops say is a Mickey Cobra gang member, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon on parole.
The Illinois Department of Corrections revoked his parole, and he headed back to prison for a few weeks. According to court records, when he got out in mid-October, Cook County Judge Dennis Porter allowed him to post just $300 to go home while awaiting trial in the pending gun case.
On July 25, 2020, Sharrieff lured 19-year-old Annette McKay to a South Side motel where he forced her to perform sex acts at gunpoint before he fatally shot her in the face, prosecutors said. He also allegedly shot a 39-year-old woman who lives near the hotel after she ran away when he tried to rob her. The second woman survived.
Now charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, Sharrieff is being held without bail.
Remote learning assault
Perhaps the highest-profile recent example of someone committing a violent crime while on bail for felony charges is the case of Catrell Walls, the 18-year-old man who’s accused of sexually assaulting his 7-year-old female cousin while she participated in remote school classes this month.
On August 29, Walls was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon after police accused him of possessing a firearm in the Grand Crossing neighborhood. Judge John Lyke set bail at $3,000, and Walls posted a $300 deposit bond to go home.
Less than two months later, on October 16, Walls forced the girl to perform oral sex within view of her online learning computer’s camera. Other students who were logged on during the study period drew the teacher’s attention to the incident. Walls was seen closing the girl’s laptop after the assault was discovered, prosecutors said.
Police said Walls later admitted to the crime.
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