When two men killed another man inside Mutasim Sulieman’s convenience store in 2016, Sulieman was the only eyewitness. Prosecutors eventually charged two men with the slaying, and on May 1, 2019, attorneys told the judge overseeing the case that they were ready for trial.
Three days later, Sulieman locked up his store and headed toward his car. He didn’t make it because a masked man walked up behind him and shot him dead.
Prosecutors this week accused 22-year-old Kyrell Pittmon of murdering Sulieman in a contract hit that was arranged through recorded jailhouse phone calls by one of the men Sulieman was prepared to testify against.
Pittmon was on electronic monitoring (EM) for a gun case when he allegedly killed Sulieman outside Division Quick Stop, 3657 West Division, in Humboldt Park. He is at least the 13th person charged with committing first-degree murder in 2019 while on bail for a felony.
Prosecutors said that Chicago police officers saw the murder and ran after Pittmon, who dropped the murder weapon and a ski mask as he jumped into a waiting getaway car. DNA tests allegedly link Pittmon to the mask.
Surveillance video allegedly showed him getting into a car outside his house about 2-1/2 hours before the murder. Sheriff’s office EM records show he was out of the house from that time until about an hour after the killing, prosecutors said.
In a series of recorded phone calls from Cook County jail, one of the men Sulieman was prepared to testify against discussed having Pittmon murder Sulieman, prosecutors said. Some of the calls included discussions about Pittmon’s difficulty because his ankle monitor kept alerting the sheriff’s office every time he left the house to carry out the hit, prosecutors said.
Pittmon was sentenced to probation for the gun case that was ongoing when Sulieman was killed. However, he was given a two-year sentence in 2020 after picking up another weapons case. According to the prosecution, he admitted this week that he was actively selling firearms at the time of Sulieman’s murder.
According to Pittmon’s public defender, the presence of his DNA on the ski mask does not prove that he committed the crime.
“Much of this is jail call talk by inmates who are desperate,” the attorney argued.
But Judge Barbara Dawkins was not swayed. She granted the state’s request to hold Pittmon without bail.
The statements Sulieman made to investigators before he was killed have been admitted into evidence against the men he was supposed to testify against. They remain jailed, awaiting trial.
The “not horrible” series
This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others 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 brought charges in less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data.
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Other 2019 cases
- Chief judge says there have been no “horrible incidents” under his affordable bail program. These people might disagree, if they only they were still alive. (November 21, 2019)
- Affordable bail: While chief judge claims no “horrible incidents,” we found more murders that seem…pretty horrible (November 27, 2019)
- Court records reveal even more men charged with murder, and shootings while free on “affordable bail” (February 6, 2020)
- Avondale man charged with shooting robbery victim while free on $200 “affordable bail” for possessing a stolen handgun (February 16, 2020)
- More men charged with murder while free on “affordable bail,” records show (May 12, 2020)
- Part II: Even more men accused of murder while free on “affordable bail” (May 15, 2020)