CHICAGO — Jamari Champion had a golden opportunity. He faced a felony gun charge last January after Chicago cops said they saw him ditch a gun as they searched a backyard where ShotSpotter detected 12 rounds fired. By May, he had a deal: The case would be dismissed if he completed 50 hours of community service and kept his nose clean for two years.
Barely six weeks after Judge Peggy Chiampas handed him that second chance, prosecutors say, the 19-year-old shot and killed his girlfriend.
He is now sitting inside the Cook County jail, charged with first-degree murder, and detained as a public safety threat by order of Judge Charles Beach.
Early on July 8, 22-year-old Porcha Dixon took the Red Line home from her job at a Streeterville Taco Bell. Champion met her as she walked home from the train, something he did from time to time, prosecutors said in a court filing.
This time, though, video from the 9600 block of South Perry allegedly showed Champion grab Dixon by her neck and choke her. As she fell to the ground, he shot her once in the back of the head with a .45-caliber handgun, the filing said.
Champion scooped up Dixon’s body, walked out of camera range, dumped her in an alley, and ran into his nearby home. A SWAT team searched the house later that day, but an arrest warrant wasn’t issued until August 31, nearly two months after the crime, according to court records. Champion stopped meeting his probation obligations after that, prompting Judge Chiampas to issue an arrest warrant in the gun case in October. Investigators finally caught up with Champion this month.
Judge Beach pointed to a host of evidence that supported his decision to keep Champion in jail on the murder charge: Champion “made admissions” to the crime on Facebook Messenger; he had been seen choking and pointing a gun at Dixon before; and the crime was caught on video.
Champion’s next court date in the murder case is January 24.