CHICAGO — “Sometimes when you enter the criminal justice system, you don’t start with a single, you hit a grand slam,” Cook County Circuit Court Judge John Lyke often remarked during his years overseeing bond hearings at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
Lyke now handles felony trial matters at 26th and California, but his baseball metaphor came to mind as we reviewed the allegations filed against 18-year-old Jabaree Franklin.
Never arrested before, Franklin is now facing first-degree murder charges. Prosecutors say he’s the gunman who opened fire from a car last summer, killing A’Shuntice Wilburn, 17.
“She wanted to be a dental hygienist,” Ashuntice’s grandmother told WGN last summer. “She helped me with all kinds of activities … She volunteered in the community, she was an exceptional person, [an] exceptional individual.”
The trouble began around 4 p.m. on August 19 as four friends, ages 14 to 17, walked into the BP station at Bloomingdale and Central in North Austin. As the group walked in, Franklin, 16-year-old Adrien Lipscomb, and three friends were walking out, prosecutors say.
Video footage showed Lipscomb trying to pull a backpack from a 16-year-old boy in Wilburn’s group. Lipscomb allegedly followed the boy and poked a firearm at his face.
The groups went their separate ways, and prosecutors say Franklin and Lipscomb broke away from their friends after leaving the store.
Minutes later, a surveillance camera allegedly recorded Lipscomb driving a stolen car near Wilburn’s group. Franklin fired several shots out of the back passenger window, prosecutors said during a recent detention hearing.
Wilburn was fatally injured. Bullets struck one of her friends, too, but he survived after undergoing surgery.
Chicago cops rounded up even more video footage, including a segment that showed Franklin changing clothes in an alley after the shooting, prosecutors said. That clothing allegedly tested positive for gunshot residue. A CPD report said “multiple” witnesses identified Franklin.
Speaking from the bench where Lyke used to sit, Judge Barbara Dawkins rattled off a list of possible restrictions she could put on Franklin as he awaits trial.
On electronic monitoring, he’d be free to roam around two days a week and “would not be monitored,” she wrote in a detention order. Ankle monitors are “prone to tamper & escape,” the order continued. And when judges put defendants on nighttime curfews, violations aren’t relayed to the court promptly, Dawkins remarked.
With all of that in mind and with the weight of the evidence presented to her, the judge ordered Franklin jailed while the case is pending.
Prosecutors charged Lipscomb with first-degree murder last month.