11-year-old was murdered while trying to save his mom from a knife attack at the hands of a violent parolee: prosecutors

CHICAGO — Jayden Perkins was murdered Wednesday morning while trying to save his mother from her ex-boyfriend, a violent man with a long criminal history who forced his way into their Edgewater home with a knife less than 24 hours after being released from prison.

Prosecutors revealed details of the 11-year-old’s death and the vicious stabbing of his mother during a detention hearing for Crosetti Brand, the 37-year-old parolee charged with the attack.

Brand and Perkins’ 33-year-old mom dated more than 15 years ago. Brand was convicted of domestic-related crimes involving the woman several times between 2006 and 2009, including three violations of orders of protection, prosecutors said in a proffer of facts provided to CWBChicago.

When he was served with one of those orders in open court years ago, he ripped up the paperwork in front of the judge, who held him in direct contempt of court, prosecutors said.

He received a 16-year sentence for a 2015 home invasion in which he choked a different ex-girlfriend during a home invasion and stole her car, court records show. State officials released him in October, and before he walked out of prison, officials handed him a memo reminding him that an active order of protection barred him from contacting Jayden’s mom, the proffer said.

In January, Brand texted a threat to Jayden’s mom and family, then rang her doorbell and pulled on her front door the next day, according to the proffer. Jayden’s mom contacted the parole board about the incident, and they sent him back to prison. But not for long.

Crosetti Brand Jayden Perkins (Chicago Police Department, Channel3Now)

Just a few weeks later, on Tuesday, the state again released Brand with another warning about the active order of protection, prosecutors said. Authorities also notified Jayden’s mom that he was getting out.

At 7:46 a.m., Jayden’s mom was talking with her mother on the phone as he and his 6-year-old half-brother got ready for school in their apartment in the 5900 block of North Ravenswood. Preparing to leave with the kids, she unlocked the door. Brand was on the other side.

Prosecutors said he forced his way through the doorway and began stabbing the woman. She repeatedly screamed for him to stop, using his nickname: “No, CO!” According to the proffer, the woman’s mother heard her daughter’s screams until the phone disconnected.

Jayden tried time and time again to help his mom. Brand stabbed him in the chest, severing the child’s carotid artery, prosecutors said. She managed to lock herself in a bathroom. He tried, but failed, to kick in the door.

According to the proffer, he took the woman’s phone and ditched it in a trash can as he fled down an alley. Investigators recovered it along with some clothing he had discarded. They pieced together video footage that showed him boarding the Red Line at Bryn Mawr and exiting at 47th Street.

Prosecutors said his mother met him with a bag when he got off the train. They moved out of camera range. When they returned, he was wearing different clothing, according to the proffer. CPD recovered clothes they think he discarded there.

A memorial to Jayden Perkins near his family home in Edgewater on Friday, March 15, 2024 (Mark Weyermuller)

Back at Jayden’s home, a neighbor discovered Perkins unresponsive on the floor and his half-brother uninjured on the couch. Their mother approached the neighbor, blood flowing heavily from her neck, prosecutors said.

Officials arrested Brand at his mother’s house a few hours after the attacks. Even though he was wearing different clothes, police still found suspected blood on the items he was wearing, the proffer stated.

Inside his home, prosecutors said, police recovered “many documents” related to his parole violation in February, including an Illinois Department of Corrections memo reminding him that an order of protection barred him from contacting Jayden’s mother.

Judge Maryam Ahmad detained Brand to await trial.

He is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, three counts of home invasion with a dangerous weapon, armed robbery, aggravated domestic battery, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon with a previous conviction, and violating an order of protection.

In an email to his constituents on Friday, Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) addressed the attack.

“I hope and trust that this man will be held accountable for the monstrous disdain for human life that was shown through this unfathomable act of violence, and will continue to do whatever I can to support law enforcement in their pursuit of justice,” Vasquez wrote.

He thanked Chicago police officers and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office for their swift actions in the case.

“I also know that no measure of justice or accountability will make up for the loss that this community has endured. A family is shattered. The mother is still in the hospital after enduring an unimaginable trauma. And an irreplaceable life has been taken from our community. Jayden was a beloved son, a dear friend, a talented member of his local dance troupe, and a cherished member of the Peirce Elementary community. His life never should have been taken from us, and especially not in this way.”

Vasquez also shared a link to this fundraiser for Jayden’s family.

Editor’s note: The Cook County medical examiner’s office previously provided a misspelling of Jayden’s first name. This story has been corrected to reflect the spelling provided by people who knew him.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com