Man, nearly bed-ridden with 8 gunshot wounds, allowed felon to escape by agreeing to wear his GPS bracelet, prosecutors say

Olajuwon Hughes | CCSO

It’s not easy to commit a felony while lying in bed, recovering from eight gunshot wounds.

But prosecutors say that’s exactly what Olajuwon Hughes did this week when he allegedly allowed a man who’s facing Class X felony gun charges to put his electronic monitoring bracelet onto Hughes’ ankle so he could escape.

“Sir, what you’ve done is one of the most dangerous things someone can do,” Judge Arthur Willis told Hughes during a bond hearing Friday. “You’ve allowed an individual who’s charged with a dangerous weapons offense to be in the wind — doing who knows what, who knows where — and you had their band on because you’re laid up at home.”

Hughes, 26, moaned in pain from his gunshot wounds as he appeared before Willis via Zoom on Friday. He has a broken arm, has difficulty walking, and is in “significant pain” since he was shot eight times in January, his defense attorney said.

Prosecutors said sheriff’s office workers on Wednesday went to the residence where the alleged gun offender was supposed to be on home confinement to check on the accused armed habitual criminal.

Nobody answered the door. And, when they called the phone-enabled GPS unit, someone who identified himself as the detainee answered. But he never allowed authorities in.

When they returned to the home later in the day, Hughes eventually came to the door with the electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle, prosecutors said. They took him into custody.

At the jail, an officer realized that Hughes is not the person who is supposed to be wearing the ankle monitor. According to prosecutors, Hughes has tattoos on his forehead and neck, which the gun offender does not have, and the men allegedly have completely different physical appearances.

Hughes allegedly explained that sheriff’s deputies put the ankle bracelet on him by mistake one month ago when they changed the ankle band on the other guy. But investigators checked the body camera footage from the officers who handled the bracelet swap. It clearly showed them putting the band on the right person, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Hughes was not on any court-ordered electronic monitoring, Murphy said.

“If somehow a band was being placed on you by mistake, I would suspect an individual would say, ‘I am not the person who is supposed to have that band on. Don’t put that band on me. I’m supposed to be able to go and do what I need to do in the world,’” Willis hypothesized.

Murphy said the man who is supposed to be wearing the home monitor and GPS is now missing. Prosecutors charged Hughes with aiding the escape of a felon.

Willis told Hughes he is “causing disrepute to the entire electronic monitoring system. You can’t have that.”

He then ordered Hughes held in lieu of $250,000.

In an ironic twist, Willis said Hughes must go onto electronic monitoring if he can post the required $25,000 deposit bond.

Last summer, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office proudly announced that all of its electronic monitoring bracelets would be GPS-equipped by the end of 2020.

At the time, a department spokesperson said the GPS devices will help authorities locate escapees “as long as they are still wearing their bracelets.”

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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 news@cwbchicago.com