CHICAGO — A man on electronic monitoring while awaiting trial on murder and carjacking charges was shot while driving a stolen car with firearms inside the vehicle, officials said Wednesday.
Incredibly, this is the second time that Torrey Lewis has been accused of possessing firearms while on electronic monitoring for the same 2017 murder and carjacking case. The previous gun charges, which we told you about in April 2022, ended with a judge finding him not guilty during a bench trial.
Lewis is facing more than 160 counts of murder in the still-pending murder case in which a disabled man was shot to death while sitting in his wheelchair outside a suburban movie theater as his girlfriend looked on.
Around 10 a.m. on January 31, Lewis was enjoying his “free movement day” — one of two days each week that people on electronic monitoring (EM) in Illinois are allowed to be out of the house under a 2022 law that some people consider “criminal justice reform.” Legislators who supported the measure said it was necessary so people on EM could do “essential activities” like going to a doctor or getting food.
Lewis’s “essential activities” that day had him sitting behind the wheel of a stolen car in the parking lot of an auto parts store in Dolton, officials said Wednesday. He was shot multiple times as he sat in the vehicle. A rifle and a handgun were found in the front passenger area, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.
A man in the back seat of the stolen car was also shot, as were two men outside the vehicle. The sheriff’s office said police determined that someone in the stolen car exchanged gunfire with the occupants of another vehicle.
Officials cannot monitor EM participants on their “free movement days” because there are no restrictions on where they can go as long as they stay in Cook County, according to the sheriff’s office.
But the sheriff’s office reviewed Lewis’ ankle monitor GPS history to see what he was up to on the morning he got shot. They said he left his house at 8:48 a.m. and “proceeded to travel at high rates of speed throughout the South Suburbs, at times reaching speeds of over 100 miles an hour, until he arrived at the scene of the shooting.”
“There is no evidence that Lewis was attempting to do his laundry, shop for groceries, or attend religious services during his high-speed travels,” the sheriff’s office said in a written statement.
Murder and carjacking allegations
Lewis is awaiting trial on allegations that he and another man robbed and fatally shot Timothy Horace outside a movie theater in Country Club Hills in July 2017. Prosecutors said the killers stole the victim’s Rolex watch and then tried to drive away with his car, but they couldn’t operate the vehicle because it was equipped for use by disabled drivers, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2018.
A grand jury returned a true bill that charged Lewis with 160 counts of murder, nine counts of armed robbery, and 16 counts of attempted vehicular hijacking in the case, and Lewis was initially held without bail.
Judge Carl Boyd reduced the no-bail hold to $300,000 in May 2020, allowing Lewis to go home on electronic monitoring by posting 10% of the bail amount.
Then, in April 2022, authorities went to Lewis’ home after Oak Forest police notified the sheriff’s office that Lewis had been involved in a domestic incident involving a firearm.
Sheriff’s officers searched Lewis’ home and located a rifle and handgun, both of which were stolen, prosecutors said at the time. They charged him with two misdemeanor gun violations.
The judge handling Lewis’ bail hearing in April 2022 was puzzled by the lack of felony charges.
“It looks like there are any number of charges that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office could have charged this defendant with, the domestic, the stolen handgun, the stolen guns,” Judge Barbara Dawkins said. “There are any number of charges that could have been placed against this defendant. They chose to charge him with misdemeanor offenses, so here we are in misdemeanor bond court as opposed to felony bond court.”
A spokesperson for the state’s attorney said the sheriff’s office filed the misdemeanor gun charges without asking prosecutors to approve felony counts.
Judge Carl Boyd released Lewis on electronic monitoring again six weeks after the gun charges were filed. According to court records, Judge Robert Kuzas found Lewis not guilty of the charges during a bench trial on January 5, 2023.
Lewis is now charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the January 31 matter in Dolton. He remains hospitalized for treatment of gunshot wounds. State law prohibits him from being detained on the charge until he appears personally in court.