CHICAGO — Demarcus Turner has been on electronic monitoring since prosecutors accused him of trying to rob a Chicago woman in front of her two children last July. Now, prosecutors have charged him with murder. They say he shot and killed a man during another robbery in March. Data from his ankle monitor’s GPS tracker is being used as evidence against him.
Turner is the eleventh person accused of shooting, killing, or trying to shoot or kill someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. The cases involve 15 victims, seven of whom died.
A robbery attempt
On a Thursday night last July, a 32-year-old woman was with her two children, both two years old, and a female friend when Turner rolled up to them in a car on the 2700 block of East 76th Street, prosecutors said last summer.
“Gimme your bag,” the 18-year-old allegedly barked while holding his hand inside a cross-body bag as if he had a gun.
The women ran down the street with the children and called the police.
Chicago cops found Turner sitting in a car nearby, still wearing a ski mask. Both women identified him as the man who tried to rob them, officials said.
He had never been arrested before, which weighed in his favor as Judge Barbara Dawkins ordered him to pay a $2,000 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring. According to court records, his mother posted the money hours after his bail hearing.
Electronic monitoring records
On March 3, while wearing his electronic monitoring bracelet, Turner allegedly left his house in the 500 block of East 71st Street around 5:40 p.m. and walked to a nearby vacant lot. Surveillance video showed him walking up to the passenger side of a red car that stopped in the middle of the street.
After a brief conversation, the car suddenly screeched away as Turner fired a shot toward the vehicle, Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord said during Turner’s bail hearing last week.
Whoever was in the car did not file a complaint with the police, McCord said.
Less than two weeks later, on the afternoon of March 14, Jessie Wilks, 39, drove to the 7100 block of South Eberhardt, not far from Turner’s home. McCord said that Wilks’ girlfriend told investigators he was making a drug delivery.
Citing surveillance video and electronic monitoring data, McCord said Turner left his house and walked to Wilks’ pickup truck. They had a short conversation, then Wilks’ truck moved just out of the surveillance camera’s range.
Moments later, Wilks’ truck bolted down the street and crashed as Turner reappeared on video, putting something in his jacket, McCord said.
Wilks had been shot. He died from a single gunshot wound to his side. McCord said he didn’t have any money, drugs, or a wallet when police found him.
Investigators found two shell casings on Eberhardt. McCord said a “corroded” casing was from the March 3 incident, and the other was from Wilks’ murder.
Police working on an unrelated matter recovered a handgun on March 29 that laboratory analysis determined fired the bullet that killed Wilks and ejected both shell casings found on Eberhardt, McCord alleged. She said Chicago police searched Turner’s phone after they arrested him last week, but all of the device’s data between March 10 and March 17 had been deleted.
Turner’s defense attorney urged Judge William Fahy to let him await trial at home. The lawyer pointed out that prosecutors never explained how police linked the murder weapon to Turner. And, he said, the shooting occurred off-camera, so nobody knows what happened “in the moment.”
Ultimately, though, Fahy granted the state’s no-bail petition. Turner is charged with first-degree murder, murder during the commission of a forcible felony, aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, armed robbery with a firearm, and aggravated discharge of a firearm.
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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