Friday, August 30, 2013
The "Halloween Shooter" Gets Sentenced
"Finally! Longest case I've ever followed as a court advocate has finally come to an end after nearly three years!
On Halloween afternoon, in 2010, all hell broke loose at Montrose and Magnolia when three gang members got shot. The bullets were fired right on the same sidewalk where parents and kids were trick or treating! According to testimony, a black car pulled up, a shooter got out, and started firing at rival gang members. Trick-or-treaters were diving behind cars and running behind trees to avoid being hit! It was a terrible day. It got worse. A couple hours later a man named Marlos Canteberry was shot and killed, probably in retaliation.*
A day or so later, an admitted P Stone named Akelo Washington was arrested and charged with eight counts of aggravated discharge of a weapon. He was out on bond for a drug possession charge at the time. He'd already done time in the penitentiary for robbery.
The ages of the people involved in this incident was shocking to me. The three kids who were shot were only 13 and 17! Akelo Washington was only 20 years old himself at the time.
The case dragged on for nearly three years because the drug possession case had to be settled before they could get to the shooting charge. For every single court appearance during that time, there were court advocates there from Uptown Chicago Commission, the 19th District, and/or the 20th District. That's a lot of trips to 26th and Cal!
Wednesday it was finally over. Akelo Washington received three years (to be served at 50% of the sentence if he stays on good behavior) for the drug charge. He pled guilty to two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and was sentenced to ten years (to be served at 85% with good behavior). These sentences run consecutively, not concurrently. If he doesn't get credit for good behavior, he could end up serving the entire 13 years. Then there are two years of supervision when he gets out.
He will be in jail for 1.5 years on the drugs charge and 8.5 years on the shooting charge. He has 456 days credit for time already served. He asked for good-time credit for being a 'peer tutor' in something called the Pace Program. The judge said he could ask IDOC for it, but he probably wouldn't get it because of his previous penitentiary stint. He'll most likely spend all/most of his 20s in prison.
The two counts he pled guilty on were on behalf of members of the community who were in the line of fire, not on behalf of the people who got shot. I think we need to thank those people for being willing to become part of the case.
At the end of the sentencing, his attorney said that Akelo Washington had a child he'd never had a chance to hold and he'd like to, with the judge's permission. Judge Brosnahan flatly refused him that opportunity.
One thing I noticed is that his family was in court every time I was, but his gang wasn't. They weren't there to support him during his long trial. They won't be serving time with him. I hope he and others eventually realize that that gang life is bait-and-switch. Akelo Washington was willing to shoot people for the gang. When it came time to face the consequences, he was there all by himself with his family.
The Community Justice Center/State's Attorneys did a great job with these two cases, which took 34 months. Even the judge was exasperated with how long it took to get it all finished.
I'm glad it's finally over."
* Update: Mr. Canteberry's family asked us to clarify that he was not in a gang and had never been. He was walking to the store on the night he was murdered. He left behind a nine-year-old son, a girlfriend and a grieving family. There is no doubt that emotions were running high after Mr. Washington's shooting of three gang members a couple hours earlier. Would Mr. Canteberry have been murdered if there had been no shooting a few hours earlier? It's impossible to say, but we believe not. It's a tragic ripple effect and this time it caused the death of an apparent innocent bystander.