An Indiana man who allegedly made a straw purchase of the gun used to kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French pleaded guilty to a federal firearms charge on Wednesday morning. French’s partner, Carlos Yanez, was also shot and critically wounded.
Jamel Danzy, 30, will be sentenced on October 28. He faces a maximum sentence of five years, but a federal prosecutor said the advisory sentence would be 10 to 16 months of imprisonment.
Danzy’s plea came one day after French’s mother was applauded during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing as Sen. Richard Durbin introduced the Officer Ella Grace French Task Force Support Act of 2022, which would increase funding for the investigation and disruption of straw purchases.
“My wife and I went down to St. Rita Chapel to join in the memorial service,” Durbin said during Tuesday’s hearing. “We have never seen an outpouring of grief like we saw that day. We joined hundreds, maybe thousands, of mourners that were there. Ella’s mother, Elizabeth French, is here with us today. I want to thank her personally for being here and for honoring the legacy of her wonderful daughter.”
A federal prosecutor recounted the allegations during Wednesday’s hearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman.
In March 2021, a person identified in court records as “Individual A” asked Danzy to purchase a firearm for his use because “Individual A” was a convicted felon and could not legally own or buy a gun. Danzy purchased the weapon in Hammond the same month and allegedly gave it to the man, who has been identified as Eric Morgan. According to federal court records, Danzy told investigators last year that he had an unspecified relationship with Morgan.
Morgan was driving the SUV with his brother, Emonte, in the passenger seat when French and Yanez approached their car for a traffic investigation on August 7, 2021.
During the stop, Emonte Morgan pulled out the stolen gun and killed French, state prosecutors alleged last summer. Emonte Morgan also shot Yanez and tried to shoot a third officer who chased him after the first two officers were downed, prosecutors said.
Eric Morgan is charged in state court with two felony gun counts and obstruction of justice in connection with the crimes.
Moments after Danzy walked out of federal custody last summer, he told CBS2’s Charlie DeMar he was “devastated” by French’s death.
Danzy on Wednesday told Gettleman that he has a master’s degree in psychology but currently works as a cashier at a Meijer store.
Emonte Morgan was on probation for a robbery in Old Town when he allegedly shot French and Yanez.