Man awaiting trial for Loop murder case killed his cellmate inside Cook County jail, officials say

Chicago — One month after prosecutors accused Darnell Rawls of robbing and murdering a restaurant manager in the Loop, he killed his cellmate inside the Cook County jail, officials say.

A grand jury returned a true bill with four counts of murder against Rawls on Wednesday in connection with the violent murder of Marvell Reasonover inside their cell on March 2, according to court records.

Darnell Rawls | Chicago Police Department

Prosecutors said that Rawls and his cousin, Anthony Rawls, beat, stabbed, and robbed Michael Byrnes under the L tracks at LaSalle and Van Buren late on September 6. Rawls held Byrnes’ arms while Anthony Rawls kicked him. Surveillance video allegedly shows Darnell punching and stabbing Byrnes while Byrnes was pinned against a pillar supporting the L tracks.

Rawls, 31, allegedly fled to Kentucky and was extradited to Chicago, and Judge Maryam Ahmad held him without bail on February 3.

A month later, on March 2, Cook County jail correctional officers found Rawls’ cellmate, 28-year-old Marvell Reasonover, unresponsive in their maximum security cell, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said. A source said Reasonover had been badly beaten, possibly with a sock filled with bar soap, and had suffered two broken arms.

Correctional staff tried to save Reasonover, but he died at Mt. Sinai Hospital. The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide by injuries suffered in an assault. Reasonover had been jailed since December 2020 on a carjacking charge that he picked up while on bail for a Class X armed habitual criminal case.

The sheriff’s office said that Reasonover picked up additional charges while he was in jail, including aggravated battery to a peace officer, public indecency, and criminal damage to property.

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