Sentences handed down in CTA robbery cases as court system’s COVID freeze begins to thaw

More and more criminal cases are wrapping up as Cook County’s court system works its way toward normalcy after being severely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some recent resolutions to CTA-related criminal cases that you may remember reading about on CWBChicago:

5 years for 2 attacks

Jamaal Dennard, 29, has pleaded guilty to attacking a Columbia College student in the Loop and then robbing a man on a Brown Line train in Lincoln Park one year ago.

Just after midnight on September 21, 2020, a 19-year-old female Columbia College student was walking with a friend when a man attacked and choked her near State and Harrison streets. The pair told police the man, who was leaning on a wall, mumbled something as they walked past and then grabbed the woman from behind.

He then put his hands around the student’s neck and squeezed. The woman struggled to breathe and thought she was going to die, prosecutors said Friday. The man eventually released his grip and fled the scene. A Columbia College surveillance camera recorded images of the attacker.

Two days later, a 27-year-old man was attacked and robbed as he rode a southbound Brown Line train in Lincoln Park. That victim told police a man jumped him from behind as the train pulled into the Armitage station.

The offender shoved him to the floor, struck and kicked him repeatedly, grabbed his phone, and ran out of the station at 945 West Armitage, he said. An ambulance transported the victim to a hospital for treatment.

According to prosecutors, CTA cameras captured the entire incident, and footage showed the attacker’s clothes matched the Columbia College suspect’s. The CTA distributed a bulletin with images of the suspect to law enforcement.

Police arrested Dennard at the Jackson Red Line station a few days later when they noticed he was wearing the same clothes as the Loop and Lincoln Park attacker.

He has pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in a public place, robbery, and criminal damage to government property for allegedly breaking out the windows of a Red Line train. Judge Neera Walsh sentenced him to five years on each charge to be served concurrently and gave him credit for 346 days he spent in jail. With the state’s standard 50% reduction for good behavior, he will be paroled on March 23, 2023.

Men plead guilty to robbing group of teens

Two men have pleaded guilty to robbing a group of 13- and 14-year-olds at the Chicago Red Line station in July 2020.

But Marshawn Fulton, 21, and 19-year-old Jason Radcliff received much different sentences.

The victims were sitting on a bench on the platform when the men approached them, and Radcliff demanded their property while holding his waistband as if he had a gun, prosecutors said.

One boy handed over his phone while Radcliff allegedly found another victim’s phone by patting the teen down. The third victim tried to run away, but Radcliff grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him back, prosecutors said. That boy subsequently handed his phone over, too.

According to prosecutors, Radcliff and Fulton ran from the station, but police officers located them a few minutes later when a CPD surveillance camera monitoring team saw them entering the Grand Red Line station.

Police allegedly found two of the victims’ phones in a hoodie under Fulton’s seat. The third victim’s phone was in Radcliff’s pocket, the state said. All three victims identified Radcliff and Fulton as the men who robbed them.

Fulton was on probation for another robbery at the time of the crime. He has pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in connection with the CTA hold-up. Judge Carol Howard sentenced him to five years. He is scheduled to be paroled in January 2023.

But Howard sentenced Radcliff, who pleaded guilty to robbery, to just two years probation and ordered him to perform 30 hours of community service.

Loop regular will be out by Christmas

A man with a long history of sparking trouble and violence in the Loop and near the Chicago Red Line station has received a four-year sentence for a violent robbery at the Jackson Red Line station. But, with a 50% “good behavior” discount and credit for the 593 days he spent in jail, Roderrick Sims will be out of prison by Christmas.

Sims racked up eight separate arrests in 2019 along the Red Line downtown, and he was supposed to be on electronic monitoring for a pending case when he and four other offenders brutally beat a 37-year-old man on the Jackson Red Line platform in December 2019, according to prosecutors.

The victim told police that he struck his face on the platform when five men grabbed him by the legs, pushed him to the ground, and beat him before taking his suitcase and other property. Police released surveillance images of the suspects about a week later and Sims was subsequently identified.

Judge Kenneth Wadas oversaw the robbery case and sentenced Sims.

Since 2008, Sims has been sent to prison for mob action, theft by deception, narcotics, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a 2013 robbery, according to state records.

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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