12 years for man who carjacked driver while wearing an ankle monitor for auto theft

Julius Willis (Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — A man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to carjacking a driver on the North Side while on an ankle monitor for possessing a stolen car. Julius Willis, 20, was also on juvenile parole for armed robbery at the time of those crimes.

Willis was charged with possessing a stolen motor vehicle on February 6, 2023, and Judge Kelly McCarthy sent him home with an ankle monitor and a nighttime curfew after he posted a $500 bail deposit.

“Good luck to you, sir,” McCarthy told Willis. “Don’t pick up any new cases, alright?”

It wasn’t alright, apparently, because Willis got arrested less than two months later for carjacking a man who was waiting to pick someone up in the 2600 block of West Devon.

Surveillance videos showed Willis walking across the street and opening the driver’s door while pointing a gun at him around 8:20 p.m. on March 27, prosecutors said. He allegedly pressed the gun against the driver’s body, grabbed his coat, and demanded his money. The victim handed over the cash and got out of the car.

Willis pushed him out of the way and drove off with the car.

About four hours later, Willis was in the car’s front passenger seat when the vehicle sped away from Illinois State Police troopers at more than 100 mph, according to prosecutors. Troopers stopped the vehicle and removed the driver. They said Willis slid behind the wheel and tried to drive away with the car again.

Now, Willis has pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular hijacking while armed with a weapon and possessing a stolen motor vehicle. Judge Charles Burns sentenced him to nine years for the carjacking and three consecutive years for the stolen motor vehicle charge, according to court records.

His sentence will be reduced by 50% for good behavior. He is currently scheduled to be paroled on November 22, 2028.

Prosecutors said Willis had several juvenile adjudications: 2022 for unlawful use of a weapon, 2020 for illegal use of a credit card, and 2019 for theft. He had also received a 1-1/2 year sentence for armed robbery with a firearm as a juvenile. That’s the case he was on parole for at the time of the car theft and hijacking.

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