Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office told Crain’s reporter Greg Hinz that it could not identify the people on electronic monitoring for murder or attempted murder in the city — or the judges who put them on EM — because the mayor’s office didn’t have access to court files.
So, CWBChicago reviewed the court files. Here’s part three of our report about who the defendants are, what prosecutors accused them of doing, and which judges ordered them to go onto electronic monitoring if they posted bail.
We decided to look only at cases involving crimes alleged to have occurred in the city by defendants who were placed on electronic monitoring within the past year, regardless of when the crime occurred. That’s 35 cases. To protect the identities of alleged victims, we are using the defendants’ initials for domestic incidents.
It is not clear why Lightfoot has decided to focus on these individuals rather than people accused of similar charges who have been released on bond without electronic monitoring.
Nathaniel Jefferson, 31, First-Degree Murder
Nathaniel Jefferson, three other adults, and a 14-year-old boy were charged with killing 18-year-old Ricardo Ruvalcaba during a home invasion near Midway Airport in December 2014. Prosecutors said the crew believed they would find money, pot, and electronics in the home, according to an archived Chicago Tribune report.
Ruvalcaba was asleep when the home invasion began. He woke up when someone opened his bedroom door. Ruvalcaba got out of bed and chased after Jefferson, but another member of the crew shot Ruvalcaba in the chest and stomach, killing him, prosecutors alleged.
Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Jefferson held without bail on Christmas Eve 2014.
Last February, Judge Lawrence Flood approved a defense motion to reduce Jefferson’s bail amount to $500,000. Jefferson went home upon posting 10% of that amount on July 28, 2021, records show.
Fernando Cornejo, 24, Attempted First-Degree Murder
Prosecutors said Fernando Cornejo walked into a yard in Little Village one evening in June 2020 and began shooting. A 24-year-old man who was in the yard, a concealed carry holder, pulled out his own gun and returned fire. Cornejo received multiple gunshot wounds and was critically wounded, but no other injuries were reported.
Prosecutors initially charged him with seven counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm. Judge Mary Marubio set bail at $3 million and ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring if he posted the mandatory $300,000 deposit. A grand jury subsequently returned attempted murder charges.
Judge Robert Kuzas later reduced Cornejo’s bail amount to $150,000, meaning he needed a $15,000 deposit to get out on EM.
Jaylen Brown, 22, Attempted First-Degree Murder
Prosecutors said a man was left paralyzed after Jaylen Brown shot him during an argument that began because the victim looked at Brown’s girlfriend.
Brown, the girlfriend, and two others went to an apartment building to attend a party in September 2020 and encountered a group of men on the sidewalk out front, prosecutors said.
When they arrived, Brown accused a group of men standing outside the building of looking at his girlfriend, and an argument broke out, Assistant State’s Attorney Franka D’Antignac said. The altercation moved into the building lobby where Brown allegedly flashed a gun at the man who would later be paralyzed in the shooting, according to D’Antignac.
Brown and his companions then took an elevator to the party while the group of men stayed downstairs. But there was no party, and the foursome headed back to the lobby.
When the elevator doors opened, the group of men was still there, and Brown began arguing with them again, according to D’Antignac. When Brown and the man he flashed the gun at became involved in a physical struggle for the weapon, one of Brown’s companion’s reached for the pistol and punched another member of the group, D’Antignac said.
Brown then backed away and allegedly began shooting.
One of the men, age 27, fell to the floor with a gunshot wound to his chest. He remains paralyzed from the waist down. Another round struck Brown’s companion, who later sought treatment at a hospital, D’Antignac said.
The apartment building’s security cameras recorded the shooting, and the footage shows Brown firing the gun, D’Antignac said.
For the next several months, Brown tried to keep his girlfriend from contacting the police by repeatedly threatening her with physical harm, sometimes while brandishing a firearm, according to D’Antignac.
He does not have a criminal record.
On February 16, 2021, Judge Susana Ortiz set bail at $500,000 and ordered him to go on EM if he posts bond. His girlfriend paid a $50,000 deposit to get him released on July 6, according to court records.
Kevin Alexander, 28, First-Degree Murder
Kevin Alexander is accused of stabbing rapper Walter Long Jr. following an argument on a Green Line train near the Clinton station in February 2017. Prosecutors said Alexander approached Walt on the train, and the men began physically fighting.
They exited at Clinton, and Alexander followed Walt, eventually stabbing him twice in the chest as they reached the 200 block of North Clinton, according to prosecutors, who said Alexander chased Walt for a short distance after stabbing him. Walt then collapsed and died. Alexander also received a cut to his chin.
Long, who was 24, most famously performed under the state name John Walt.
Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil set bail at $2 million on February 10, 2017. Three months later, Judge Erica Reddick reduced his bail amount to $500,000 and added electronic monitoring as a condition of release, court records show. Alexander’s mother posted the requisite $50,000 deposit on May 8, 2021, according to his bail slip.
- Who are the accused murderers and attempted murderers on electronic monitoring? The mayor says she doesn’t know. So, we found out. (January 13, 2022)
- Outraged about alleged murderers being on electronic monitoring, politicians propose a new law that would only allow them out of jail without electronic monitoring (January 13, 2022)