12 years for 2nd man involved in death of former Marine who was dragged by CTA train in the Loop

CHICAGO — Nearly four years after Mamadou Balde died after falling between two cars of a Red Line train in the Loop, the second man charged with the former Marine’s death entered a guilty plea on Tuesday.

A CTA commuter told CWBChicago that a “pretty big group” of teenagers and young adults were causing trouble on the Jackson Red Line platform while Balde, 29, waited for a train shortly after 5 p.m. on April 7, 2020.

“It kept escalating, yelling, pushing, and stuff,” he said.

At some point, Balde was either pushed from or fell off of the platform during an altercation with Fajour Hodges and Ryan Munn, prosecutors said. Balde’s lower body became trapped in the train, which dragged him along the platform to his death. Hodges was 19 and Munn was 18 at the time of Balde’s death.

Prosecutors said CTA video showed Balde smiling and jokingly raising his fists at Hodges before he fell between the train cars.

Fajour Hodges and Mamadou Balde (Chicago Police Department, US Sun)

No arrests were immediately made. Detectives distributed CTA surveillance images of the suspects to Chicago police districts across the city, hoping someone would recognize them. Cops who patrolled the area near Water Tower Place quickly identified Hodges and Munn by name.

They were well-known to officers in the area. Both were suspected of participating in a shoplifting flash mob that raided a Gold Coast convenience store a few months before Balde was killed. Hodges had been arrested five times in 2019 alone, including three times near the Magnificent Mile.

Last summer, his attorney filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that a Chicago police detective gave false testimony in the grand jury proceeding that led to Hodges’ murder indictment. The detective claimed that the CTA video showed Hodges pushing Balde between the train cars, an assertion the lawyer said was false. The motion to dismiss failed and Hodges entered into a plea deal.

On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a charge reduced from murder, in exchange for a 12-year prison sentence, according to court records. Judge Domenica Stephenson oversaw the case.

Records show his sentence may be offset by nearly 2,300 days of credit he earned in jail: 1,427 days for time spent in custody, 695 days for attending school in jail, 90 days for achieving a diploma, and almost 88 days for work credit. All of those credits are subject to review for eligibility.

Hodges still has not resolved the Gold Coast 7-Eleven shoplifting case, which was caught on video. Court records show the matter is set for trial on April 16.

Munn pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2022 and received a four-year sentence. Like Hodges, he was initially charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and mob action.

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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