#27: Teen charged with killing 73-year-old carjacking victim was AWOL in felony stolen car case, prosecutors say

Dushawn Williams, the 17-year-old who’s being charged as an adult for the death of 73-year-old Keith Cooper during a carjacking this week, was convicted of gun possession at the age of 12 and was supposed to be at home on electronic monitoring for possession of a stolen motor vehicle when Cooper was killed, prosecutors said Saturday.

But Williams stopped showing up for court in the stolen car case late last year, and he’s been AWOL ever since. He is now the 27th person accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for another felony.

On Friday, prosecutors charged Williams’ alleged co-offender, 18-year-old Frank Harris, with felony murder and aggravated vehicular hijacking. Just two months before Cooper’s death, Harris received probation for December 2020 carjacking that he allegedly committed as a juvenile.

Williams’ public defender said a counselor at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has been trying to get the teen back in school.

Prosecutors said Harris stunned Cooper by punching him in the head from behind. Williams then allegedly pushed Cooper in the chest. The beloved grandfather, who would have turned 74 next week, collapsed a few moments later and died.

“There is no indication that he intended to cause harm,” Williams’ defense attorney said.

“The law really doesn’t care,” Judge John Lyke countered. “He’s legally responsible under the theory of accountability for his little cohort as well.”

“The state tells me that this defendant, 17 years of age, but started a life of crime at a very early age five years ago. 2016. That’d put him at age of 12. Had a gun. Convicted of a gun. Age of 13 convicted of theft. Age of 14 convicted of aggravated fleeing and eluding…He has a pending stolen car case,” Lyke recalled. “He was placed on electronic home monitoring. And now he’s faced with felony murder.”

The judge ordered Williams, who’s charged with first-degree murder and attempted aggravated battery of a person over the age of 60 — held without bail.

“The citizens of this community stepped up big time,” Lyke said after hearing prosecutors describe how police came to arrest Williams and Harris. “They didn’t just stand around with a camera taking pictures and video. They got involved trying to bring these two young men to justice.”

Meanwhile, Cooper’s daughter, Keinika Carlton, expressed her feelings in an open letter to Williams and Harris on Facebook:

On Wednesday, July 14th you turned my world upside down. My dad was just on his way to pick up his prescription at CVS when you spotted him. He just wanted to get his medicine, get back in his car and come pick me up.

We had shit to do that day.

But one of you, decided to grab his keys from his hand and demand his car. That’s fine. You can have his car. He had insurance. We could’ve gotten him a new car.

He asked you nicely to give him his keys back. The onlookers even asked you to give my dad his keys back. My dad didn’t try to fight you or give you a hard time. Why didn’t you just give the keys back?

Here’s where everything got fucked up.

You couldn’t get into the car. Yo dumbasses couldn’t figure out how to use the key fob. You couldn’t figure out how to just click the damn button. So out of frustration, you punched my dad in the head and pushed him in his chest.

His heart was very fragile. He’s had 2 heart surgeries in the past 10 years.

And after all that, you ran.

You ran.

You fuckin ran.

Because you both are cowards.

All my daddy wanted to do was pick up his damn medication but you couldn’t let him do that!!!! And you were too stupid to figure out how to use a key fob!!!

I’m going to pray for you. God can get you better than I can.

Sincerely,

Keith’s Babygirl

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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