Arthur “AJ” Jones was 10-years-old when he died after getting caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout as he walked home from buying candy in 2007. Clarence Williams, now 33, would later be convicted of murder and sentenced to 43 years in prison for his role in the boy’s death.
But in 2017, an appeals court ordered the trial judge to resentence Williams on a lesser charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm.
The judge, Maura Slattery Boyle, complied with the higher court’s order. But she wasn’t happy about it.
“A little boy is dead,” Boyle said as she reduced Jones’ sentence to 15 years. “To say that Mr. Williams’ actions were senseless and careless would be an understatement.”
“That man is clearly responsible for my son’s death,” AJ’s mother, Rita Perez, said at the time. “My whole world has changed. If I don’t get no justice, there will be no peace in my life.”
And, so, it is ironic that Clarence Williams, paroled two years ago, was wearing a sweatshirt with a giant “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE” logo on the front when police arrested him for allegedly having a gun in his car over the weekend.
During a traffic stop, officers asked Williams, who was in the driver’s seat, and his two passengers to get out after smelling burnt cannabis when a cloud of smoke poured out of the vehicle during a traffic stop, prosecutors said.
A zipped-up backpack on the rear floorboard contained Williams’ ID and a loaded 9-millimeter handgun, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Darryl Auguste. Williams allegedly admitted to owning the backpack.
Williams’ defense attorney claimed the back seat passenger put the gun inside Williams’ bag.
“This defendant knows what the danger of having a firearm is,” Auguste said while urging Judge Charles Beach to hold Williams without bail on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and possession of cannabis by a driver.
Beach was not convinced.
“I don’t know if I can wholeheartedly agree that he is a danger to the community,” Beach reasoned. “He hasn’t pointed this weapon at any other individual. He hasn’t threatened any other individual.”
The judge then denied the state’s no-bail request and held Williams in lieu of $120,000. Beach also ordered Williams held without bail at the state’s request while authorities consider revoking his parole in the Arthur Jones case. If Williams’ parole is not revoked, he will need to post $12,000 to get out of jail.
AJ’s murder was one of the incidents that led Chicago authorities to create the “Safe Passage” program to help children get to and from school safely.