When Manya Chappel drove a gunman around the Austin neighborhood for 15 minutes, looking for someone to kill in a gang revenge shooting, he was already on bail for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm, prosecutors said this week.
Now, he’s charged with first-degree murder of Demarco Strawder, the 24-year-old man that his passenger allegedly gunned down that day.
Chappel, 24, is the 19th person charged with killing or shooting — or trying to shoot or kill — someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. The alleged crimes involve at least 40 victims, nine of whom died.
Around noon on January 15, a man with tattoos on his face pulled his car to a stop on the West Side. He and his passenger, who was armed with a gun, asked a passerby where they could buy “blows,” street slang for heroin. The passerby didn’t want to get involved.
For 15 minutes, an array of surveillance cameras recorded those two men circling the area looking for someone to shoot to avenge the murder of a friend, prosecutors said.
They picked Strawder.
The passenger, who has yet to be charged, shot Strawder three times as he walked down the 1600 block of North Mayfield. Police found Strawder after responding to a ShotSpotter alert and 911 calls. Investigators found 11 shell casings on the street, prosecutors said.
Detectives rounded up video footage from across the area and from nearby businesses that showed Chappel and the shooter in and out of the car before, during, and after the shooting, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
Chappel’s phone pinged in concert with the gunman’s phone as they traveled together, according to Murphy. Their phones allegedly registered less than 300 feet from the murder scene when Strawder was killed.
Chappel was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon in 2016 and felony resisting in 2018. In May 2020, Judge David Navarro allowed him to go home by on a $500 bail deposit after prosecutors charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was still on bail when Strawder was killed, Murphy said.
Prosecutors this week charged Chappel with first-degree murder.
His defense attorney argued the passenger was the one who supposedly shot Strawder, not Chappel.
But Judge Mary Marubio pointed to the “stalking of the victim” by circling the area for 15 minutes as a key factor in the case. The extensive surveillance footage and phone GPS evidence also weighed heavily, she said.
She then granted the state’s motion to hold Chappel without bail on the murder charge. Marubio also ordered Chappel held without bail for violating the terms of bond in the pending gun case.
The “not horrible” series
This report continues our coverage of individuals who have been accused of murder, attempted murder, or shooting firearms toward people while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.
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 less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data. You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.