Inmate beaten to death in Cook County jail cell, officials say

Chicago — A Cook County jail detainee was murdered inside his cell in the maximum security Division 9 wing on Thursday evening, officials said. Marvell Reasonover, 28, had been in jail since December 2020 while awaiting trial for carjacking and a separate armed habitual criminal case.

Correctional workers found Reasonover unresponsive at 5:10 p.m. Thursday and began life-saving measures until Chicago Fire Department personnel arrived, the sheriff’s office said in a written statement. 

Marvell Reasonover was found unresponsive in his cell in Division 9 at Cook County Jail and later died. | Google; Chicago Police Department

EMS took Reasonover to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he later died. The medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide due to injuries suffered in an assault, the sheriff’s office said. A source said Reasonover had been badly beaten, possibly with a sock filled with bar soap, and had suffered two broken arms.

The sheriff’s office said Reasonover’s cellmate was “secured and led out of the cell.” The cellmate arrived at the jail in recent weeks after being charged in a high-profile murder case, according to the source. CWB Chicago is not identifying the cellmate because he has not been charged with wrongdoing in Reasonover’s death.

The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force and the sheriff’s office are both looking into Reasonover’s death, according to the sheriff’s office statement.

He had been jailed in lieu of a $20,000 bail payment since December 12, 2020.

Two days earlier, Chicago police pulled him over in a black Jeep that had been reported stolen, the sheriff’s office said. Reasonover allegedly arranged online to buy the Jeep from its owner one month earlier and then took the vehicle at gunpoint when the owner showed up to complete the transaction.

At the time of the hijacking, Reasonover was on bail for a Class X armed habitual criminal case in which he was accused of having a loaded firearm in his vehicle in August 2020. 

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.

His previous convictions include possessing a stolen motor vehicle, causing an accident involving injury or death, burglary, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

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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