On Wednesday morning, WBEZ reported that the office of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Police Department “were scrambling to find evidence” last summer to support their claims that low bond amounts from the county’s judges were contributing to the city’s violent crime rates. The report was based on a couple of exchanges between city leaders and mayoral staffers that were recently released in a trove of hacked city emails.
“The mayor’s office and CPD were able to find only two examples of bail decisions leading to new gun crimes” when a columnist for Crain’s Chicago Business asked for specific incidents, WBEZ reported.
That may surprise CWBChicago readers almost as it surprised the members of our team who have reported on dozens of instances in which people have been charged with murder and other violent felonies while on bond for gun crimes.
Far from appearing to be a scramble, the email exchange among city staffers reads like a typical effort to put together some examples for the Crain’s report rather than compiling an exhaustive list. And, WBEZ failed to mention that the exchange included a Chicago Tribune report that provides examples beyond the two that city workers discussed.
“There are also plenty of examples we can point to here,” a top press aide to Lightfoot said of the lengthy Tribune story.
Then, there is our own reporting. All totaled, CWBChicago reporters have identified 19 people who are accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while on bond for other felonies. There are 27 victims involved in those alleged crimes. For 2020, CWB’s team identified 38 people who were charged with killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone while on bail for felonies. Those cases involve 43 victims. Our researchers have also identified 16 people who were charged with killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone while on bond for felonies in 2019.
Here are some recent cases in which people are charged with committing murder, attempted murder, or shooting someone while on bail for gun cases. Perhaps this will help reporters and researchers in the future.
- Demond Goudy, one of two gunmen prosecutors say killed 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams as she sat in her father’s car in a McDonald’s drive-thru last month, was on bond for four separate felony cases, including one for illegal gun possession at the time of the alleged crime, according to prosecutors.
- On April 5, Semaj Dixon chased down and killed another man while he was supposed to be on electronic monitoring for a pending gun case, prosecutors said.
- Jesus Moro is accused of killing a gang rival over a haircut in February. He was on bond for allegedly firing a handgun outside an elementary school in Little Village at the time.
- Demetris Johnson was on bail for armed habitual criminal and escape when he allegedly escaped from electronic monitoring and killed a man on January 27.
- Xavier Encarnacion was on bail for his third gun case when he allegedly participated in the murder of a man he perceived to be a rival gang member in January.
- In March, prosecutors said Shevell Wilson helped kill a rival gang member last summer after he posted $200 to get out of jail on felony gun charges.
- Jalen Saulsberry, accused of killing a retired Chicago Fire Department lieutenant during a botched carjacking on December 3, was on a recognizance bond for gun charges at the time of the murder.
- Prosecutors charged Jermaine Morris with trying to kill an off-duty cop on New Year’s Day. Morris was released on bail for being a felon in possession of a firearm two weeks before the alleged slaying attempt.
- At least 32 people charged with murder in Chicago last year were free on bail at the time of the killings (January 5, 2021)
- #33: We find another man accused of committing murder while on affordable bail in 2020 (January 9, 2021)
- Another man, free on bail for two felonies, charged with killing retired fireman in botched carjacking (January 22, 2021)
- #36: Man killed rival gang member while on bail for felony gun charge, prosecutors say (April 5, 2021)
- #37: Fellow gang member killed rapper Tray Savage while on bond for felony drug case, prosecutors say (April 26, 2021)
- #1: 16-year-old charged with shooting man during robbery while awaiting trial for felony (January 12, 2021)
- #2: Man fatally shot girlfriend while on electronic monitoring for November gun case, prosecutors say (January 20, 2021)
- #3: On bail for 3 separate felony cases, “fanged” man now charged with killing 12-year-old in DUI crash (January 23, 2021)
- #4: Man on affordable bail for his 3rd felony gun case is charged with weekend murder (January 28, 2021)
- #5: Man charged with murder while on bail for 3rd gun case and escape (February 5, 2021)
- #6: Man, on bail for attempted murder and robbery, charged with killing woman while speeding away from police traffic stop (February 25, 2021)
- #7: Teen accused of shooting driver during Wednesday carjacking is awaiting trial for 3 felonies, prosecutors say (February 25, 2021)
- #8: “Highly active” gang member charged with killing rival over haircut — while on affordable bail (March 4, 2021)
- #9: On bail for five burglaries, man set fire to home, killing girlfriend and 10-year-old girl, prosecutors say (March 12, 2021)
- #10: Man, on bail for gun case, is charged with attempted murder for shooting at carjacking victims (March 17, 2021)
- #11: Man who shot cop and passerby hoped to be killed by CPD, prosecutors say (March 20, 2021)
- #12: Man charged with shooting co-worker while on affordable bail for Lincoln Park carjacking (April 2, 2021)
- #13 and #14: Two more men charged with shooting people in Chicago while on bail for felony cases (April 4, 2021)
- #15: Man murdered childhood friend while awaiting trial on federal gun charges, prosecutors say (April 13, 2021)
- #16: Man chased down and killed victim while on electronic monitoring for gun case, prosecutors say (April 18, 2021)
- #17: 16-year-old charged with murder, robbery in alleged pot dealer rip-off (April 19, 2021)
- #18: Man charged murder of 7-year-old at McDonald’s drive-thru has 2 pending felony cases, prosecutors say (April 25, 2021)
- #19: Second man charged with killing 7-year-old at McDonald’s was on 4 felony bonds, including robbery and gun cases (May 1, 2021)