Prosecutors say Marcell Hunter, while on electronic monitoring for three felony cases, shot and killed a woman during a street party in Chicago this summer because he didn’t know who she was and he didn’t want her there.
That’s bad enough. But then there’s this: Hunter, 27, is awaiting trial for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2018 and then escaping from electronic monitoring by cutting off his ankle monitor. He remained on the loose for three years until last September, when Chicago police allegedly caught him with yet another gun.
Despite all of that, Cook County Judge Carol Howard decided to release him on his own recognizance with electronic monitoring in February to await trial on the escape and gun charges.
Four months later, still on electronic monitoring, he allegedly went to a street party and shot a woman square in the head because he didn’t want her on the block.
Hunter is the 37th person accused of killing or shooting—or attempting to kill or shoot—someone in Chicago while awaiting trial for a felony this year. The alleged crimes involved at least 71 victims, 18 of whom died.
When Judge Howard nixed Hunter’s no-bail status in March and sent him home on electronic monitoring again, she specifically ordered that he was not allowed to be outside his home.
But, on June 21, Hunter allegedly left his house to attend a street gathering where a crowd gathered to remember someone who had been buried earlier in the day.
Around 11 o’clock that night, 22-year-old Nikki Conner arrived at the gathering near 59th and Bishop with her sometime girlfriend and another companion. They weren’t there long before a man they knew told them they should leave because they were not from the area and his little brother was upset about their presence and had a gun, prosecutor Danny Hanichak said.
The three friends walked to a nearby corner, where Hunter soon confronted them, demanding to know “who the f*ck they were,” according to Hanichak. Hunter allegedly told Conner and her friends that they had been told to leave once already, and he was telling them again.
Conner explained that the friends were simply having a conversation and preparing to leave. One member of the trio began to walk away, while the other urged Conner to do the same.
When Conner again tried to explain what was happening, Hunter took out a gun and shot her in the head, Hanichak said. After she was down, Hunter allegedly fired more shots, then ran away. Police found six shell casings at the scene, all from the same gun.
Both of Conner’s companions identified Hunter in photo line-ups, according to Hanichak.
Initially, Hunter told detectives that he was unaware of the murder. However, he demanded an attorney after police confronted him with evidence from the sheriff’s electronic monitoring system.
That evidence allegedly shows that Hunter’s tracker suddenly lost location data between 2:23 p.m. and 11:34 p.m. on the day of the murder. Hanichak said Hunter “tampered” with the device, which started providing location data again 23 minutes after the crime, showing Hunter to be at home.
Hunter was first charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon in 2018 and got out of jail on electronic monitoring by posting a $1,000 bail bond. In October that year, he stopped showing up for court dates with Judge Howard. A warrant went out for his arrest.
It stayed out for three years until last September, when Chicago police allegedly found a handgun in the driver’s door pocket of a car that Hunter, using the fake name Marvin Boswell, was driving.
Prosecutors charged him with escape and another count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. He remained in jail without bail until Howard sent him home in February, Hanichak said.
Hunter’s public defender said he has four children and has another on the way.
Judge Barbara Dawkins ordered Hunter held without bail on Thursday.
When Howard specifically told Hunter in February that he was not permitted to leave his house, she was making it clear that he was not allowed to enjoy the new benefits allotted to electronic monitoring (EM) participants under Illinois’ new criminal justice reform law known as the SAFE-T Act.
That law allows people on EM to move freely two days a week to run errands, complete tasks, and so forth. The law also decriminalized EM violations of less than 48 hours. As a result, Hunter cannot be charged with escaping EM to allegedly kill Conner because he was not out of his house for more than two days.
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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