8½ years for Chicago man who shot at occupied car while on bail for 2 felony gun cases

Jesse Davis and a surveillance image that allegedly shows him shooting at an occupied vehicle. (Chicago Police Department, U.S. District Court records)

CHICAGO — A man accused of shooting at two people while on bail for two separate felony gun cases in 2020 has been sentenced to 8-1/2 years in federal prison for illegal transportation of firearms. Even Jesse Davis’ defense attorney called his behavior on the morning of May 14, 2020 “very, very, very bad.”

Davis, 30, managed to get arrested three times in two months for gun-related cases, starting on March 22, 2020, when he allegedly pointed a gun at someone in a car. Federal prosecutors claim that a Chicago police surveillance camera recorded the incident.

He posted bail, got out of jail, and then got arrested again on April 26, 2020, after Chicago police allegedly found a loaded, stolen handgun with an extended ammunition magazine under the passenger seat he occupied during a traffic stop.

The driver told police he didn’t know anything about the gun and claimed he had never, ever seen Davis possess a firearm, even though he was with Davis when he got arrested for allegedly possessing a firearm five weeks earlier, federal officials said.

Once again, Davis posted bail and went home.

Less than three weeks later, around 5:05 a.m. on March 14, a private surveillance camera was rolling as Davis brought his car to a stop in the 3500 block of West Chicago Avenue. Footage from the camera showed him get out of the car, walk directly toward a parked car, and “aimed [a gun] squarely at both individuals” inside the vehicle, prosecutors claimed in a sentencing memorandum. He allegedly started shooting as the car’s driver sped away.

Davis then walked to a nearby building, shot the door several times, and tried to get inside, the memorandum said. According to prosecutors, a woman identified as Davis’ spouse in his March bail bond paperwork had been standing inside the door, but she “retreated” when the gunfire began.

No one was injured during the incident, but prosecutors noted that Davis committed the shooting “at and around a residential building which also hosted a non-profit designed to help children affected by gun-related trauma.”

Cook County prosecutors dropped the March and May cases after federal officials filed charges based on those allegations. 

Federal prosecutor asked U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso to sentence Davis to ten years in prison, the maximum allowed, based on the premise that he committed attempted murder by trying to shoot people during the May incident.

Davis’ attorneys argued against that in their sentencing memorandum, saying that Cook County prosecutors didn’t charge Davis with attempted murder, only with aggravated discharge of a firearm.

“Mr. Davis [sic] behavior and actions on May 14, 2020, was very, very, very bad,” the defense memo stated. “They were egregious, horrific, and extremely dangerous.”

But, the memo continued, “a complete review of the video taped evidence of the shootings do no [sic] establish he acted with an attempt to commit murder.”

While conceding that the federal judge was not bound by Cook County’s decision, Davis’ attorneys asked for a sentence of 24 to 30 months.

Summarizing Davis’ criminal background, the federal memorandum said he “first possessed a firearm at the age of 17, began selling marijuana at 19, proceeded to crack cocaine by the age of 20, and was arrested in March 2020 with heroin packets at the age of 26.”

The April 2020 gun charge is still pending in Cook County court. Davis’ attorneys in that case filed a motion to dismiss the indictment earlier this year. He is due in court again on April 29.

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