Chicago man had 4 guns in his bedroom while on electronic monitoring for murder and gun cases: prosecutors

A Cook County sheriff’s office photo of items allegedly seized from Bertell Johnson’s bedroom. | Cook County sheriff’s office

CHICAGO — At least three men have recently been arrested across Chicago, accused of possessing firearms while on electronic monitoring for pending felony cases, according to court records.

The man with the most serious cases pending is Bertell Johnson, 23, who was on an ankle bracelet for a murder case and a separate gun case he picked up previously while on electronic monitoring.

Cook County sheriff’s workers went to Johnson’s home for an electronic monitoring “compliance check” on January 19. Prosecutors say the investigators found four firearms in Johnson’s bedroom, not far from his ankle monitor charging station:

  • a rifle loaded with 30 rounds next to the bed
  • a handgun with a defaced serial number and a loaded 39-round magazine under the bed sheets. It allegedly had an automatic fire switch attached.
  • a loaded 45-caliber handgun on the bed
  • an unloaded pistol on the top shelf of the closet.

“This was an unacceptable risk to the safety of the community, and perfectly illustrates why I have for years argued that individuals charged with violent crimes should not be placed on electronic monitoring,” Sheriff Tom Dart said in a written statement.

Johnson told sheriff’s office investigators that he sleeps in the bedroom, but went in the bedroom to smoke weed the night before, according to a sheriff’s report.

Prosecutors charged him with four counts of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, possession of a machine gun, and three drug-related felonies for suspected cocaine, cannabis, and oxycodone the sheriff’s team allegedly recovered.

Bertell Johnson (Cook County sheriff’s office)

“This is the 2nd case the [defendant] picked up while on [pretrial release],” Judge Kelly McCarthy wrote as she ordered Johnson detained to await trial.

One of those other cases involves a murder charge. Bertell and another man continue to face charges for a double-shooting that left one man dead in September 2018.

The other case is a 2017 felony gun charge. In that case, Chicago cops said they found two loaded handguns in a car that Johnson and another man were sitting in in the Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School parking lot.

‘Monitored’ and ‘supervised’

Another man accused of possessing a gun last week while on electronic monitoring is Frank Thaxton, 23.

Judge Maryam Ahmad scoffed at the idea that anything less than jail would be appropriate for Thaxton as he awaits trial on the new allegations.

“He is currently being ‘monitored’ and ‘supervised’ on 2 serious felony cases – yet appears before this court [with] another illegal firearm,” Ahmad noted in her written order.

Prosecutors said Chicago police officers saw Thaxton motioning toward the floorboard during a traffic stop in the 4400 block of West Congress on January 22. The officers allegedly noticed the butt of a handgun sticking out from under his seat and took him into custody.

His other case, filed in June, accuses him of having a scale, flip phone, cocaine, fentanyl, and 500 grams of pot in a car during a traffic stop.

GPS evidence

Last May, Chicago police arrested Aamir Crockrom in the 6400 block of North Damen, claiming they saw a baggie containing crack cocaine fall out of his pocket as he retrieved his ID during a traffic stop.

Crockrom struggled with the cops, injuring two, which led to felony resisting charges as well as a felony drug charge, according to court records.

Cops arrested Crockrom again last Wednesday after he appeared in court for that case.

Prosecutors say investigators used GPS data from Crockrom’s ankle monitor to determine that he was the man who pointed a gun at someone in Uptown on October 22.

Firefighters flagged the cops down shortly after 11 o’clock that morning, and they reported the incident, Crockrom’s arrest report said. While searching the area, officers saw Crockrom in an alley and spoke with a witness who reported that Crockrom had tossed a gun into a bush.

Police recovered the gun and found surveillance footage that showed Crockrom tossing the firearm, the arrest report said. They backed that up with his ankle bracelet’s GPS data to get him charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, the report said.

Judge William Fahy detained Crockram last week during a court hearing on the new allegations.

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