Murder victim’s estate sues Cook County because her killer was on electronic monitoring

The estate of a Chicago murder victim is suing Cook County’s sheriff and chief judge for wrongful death because the man who allegedly killed her was on electronic monitoring (EM) at the time of the slaying.

Dominiko Johnson killed his girlfriend, Shanate Guy, and then killed himself one year ago, CPD Supt. David Brown said last year. Johnson had two felony gun cases pending in Cook County, according to court records.

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans (L) and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart (R) | File

On April 9, 2020, Judge David Navarro let Johnson go home on a recognizance bond after prosecutors charged him with felony unlawful use of a weapon, records show.

Then, in January 2021, Chicago police allegedly saw a gun under Johnson’s feet when they pulled him over for a traffic violation. Navarro set his bail at $50,000 and ordered Johnson held without bail for violating the bond terms in the other gun case. Johnson eventually posted a $15,000 bail deposit last March and went home on EM, according to court records.

Now, Guy’s estate is suing.

In the suit, lawyers claim that the Cook County Sheriff’s Office EM program had 3,500 participants and received about 850 violation alerts every day at the time of Guy’s death, but the department only had 110 staff members assigned to the EM program.

“The county …knew [it] had insufficient personnel to adequately and safely monitor the individuals placed on the electronic monitoring program,” the suit claims. The filing does not provide any evidence that the county had such knowledge.

County authorities “took no action when it knew Dominiko Johnson was away from his prescribed location for a substantial length of time in violation of the Cook County Electronic Monitoring Program,” the suit alleges.

It claims the county “allowed” Johnson to be out of his house “for an inordinate period of time” while on EM and alleges Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Sheriff Tom Dart knew about the program’s shortcomings.

The county’s failures resulted in Guy’s death, the suit alleges.

In addition to claiming the county knew its EM program was deficient, the suit points to frequent public warnings by CPD’s superintendent that the program was being misused for people accused of violent crimes.

“Sheriff Dart has been adamant that electronic monitoring does not prevent violent offenders from continuing to engage in acts of violence,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Despite these dire warnings violent offenders continue to be placed on electronic monitoring. Regardless, sheriff’s personnel work tirelessly to monitor those ordered to the program and to prevent them from fleeing their charges or engaging in new crimes. Despite the tragedy, this lawsuit is without merit. The Sheriff’s Office will vigorously defend against what we believe are the complaint’s baseless allegations.”

Cook County Record first reported on the lawsuit.

Dominiko Johnson was the 26th person accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot someone in Chicago last year while on felony bail.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com