A Chicago man was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Monday for shooting a man to death in 2018 while on a recognizance bond for felony gun charges. As a bonus, Cook County prosecutors dropped the gun case entirely along with 15 additional charges in the murder case as part of the plea deal, court records show.
Daryl Williams, 32, was sentenced by Judge Alfredo Maldonado after pleading guilty to one count of murder. His parole date has not been set.
Williams’ murder case was over a year old when Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans falsely told county commissioners in November 2019, “It’s not by magic that we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur using this new [bail] system.”
New policy, new judges
Evans signed the new bail policy order on September 18, 2017, and replaced all six veteran judges who were assigned to Central Bond Court with a new, hand-picked line-up to administer his order.
Less than two months later, on November 8, Williams stepped in front of one of those new judges, Stephanie Miller for a bail hearing on a felony gun case.
Around 8:30 p.m. the night before, residents reported hearing shots fired in the 5000 block of South May in the New City neighborhood. Cops say they received a tip about who the shooter was. A few minutes later, they pulled over a car that Williams was riding in. When they looked into the car, a cop saw the passenger side door panel sticking out, according to a police report. Behind the panel, police alleged, was a handgun.
After being advised of his right to remain silent, Williams had some things to say, according to police: “The gun is mine,” he allegedly said. “It ain’t no one else’s.”
In fact, cops said, Williams even told them how he got the gun: Two days earlier, he gave $550 to a woman that someone named “Stretch” set him up with. He bought the gun for protection from a rival street gang, cops said.
Investigators would later learn that the gun had been reported stolen in Spokane, Washington.
When cops asked him about the reports of shots being fired in the area, Williams allegedly said, “That was me. I let off two rounds to see if [the gun] worked.”
Standing in front of Miller the next afternoon, Williams was facing a single count of felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in a vehicle. After hearing the allegations, Miller decided to release Williams on a signature bond—no money down. She told him to stay inside his home from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., but she didn’t order him to go onto electronic monitoring. And she told him to not possess any more guns. Then, after signing a promise to show up in court and to do the things Miller told him to do, Daryl Williams walked free.
On February 9, 2018, Williams hit the trifecta, according to police and prosecutors: He stayed out after his unenforced curfew; he got a gun, and he shot someone to death.
Police say Williams got into an argument in the 9200 block of South May around 9:30 that night. He broke a bunch of windows and left. He went back a couple of hours later while residents were still cleaning up the mess.
Daniel Smith, 45, was outside the home, covering a broken window with plastic as Williams stepped from the car, pulled out a gun, and opened fire, according to the allegations.
Williams yelled, “It ain’t over b*tches,” climbed back into the car, and left.
Smith was found dead in the front yard with a gunshot wound to the back of his head.
Less than two weeks later, Williams failed to appear in court for his gun case. He remained on the loose—skipping court again on March 30, 2018, —until cops caught up with him in May of that year.
When he appeared in court for a bail hearing on the murder case, a familiar face was looking down from the bench: Judge Stephanie Miller happened to be handling the day’s call. This time, she held him without bail.
CWBChicago has identified 116 people who have been charged with killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot someone in Chicago while on bond for a felony since January 2020. The cases include 58 murders.
The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has made arrests in just 4% of shootings and 31% of murders, according to the city’s data. You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.