Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good News From 26th & Cal

Last November, UU ran a story about the conviction of one of the men accused of robbing an elderly woman on Christmas Eve 2009.  (The m.o. used was the same one as the "garage robberies" that had been taking place on the North Side, and the descriptions of the attackers were also similar.  There have been no garage robberies since the arrests were made.) 

In this case, a woman was walking to her home on Argyle Street, in the area between Clark and Broadway, after having done some last-minute afternoon Christmas shopping, when she was stopped by the offenders at gunpoint and forced into her home, where she was robbed and sexually assaulted.

In November, Darius Heard pleaded guilty to armed robbery and agreed to a plea bargain of 12 years. Last week, his partner in crime, Reginald Harris, reached a plea bargain agreement for armed robbery, as well as for the sexual assault of the elderly woman.  The 20th District court advocates tell us that 
"Reginald Harris pleaded guilty on the sexual assault charge for six years at 85% with three years of supervised release afterwards. With the guilty plea on this charge, he now must register as Sexual Offender and keep his address current on the sexual offender database. 

He also pleaded guilty on the charge of Armed Robbery for 10 years at 50%, with three years of supervised release afterwards. These two sentences will be served consecutively, for total sentence of 16 years and 3 years of supervised release afterwards. 

With good behavior in Jail, he could be released only after 10.1 years.  If he is arrested anytime during the three years of supervised release, he will go back to jail to finish the complete 16 years.  The Prosecutor from the Community Justice Center, Joy Repella, was great on this case."
We understand that this was a very difficult case to try, due to the witnesses' reluctance to come forward and the fact that the crime caused the victim to move away from Chicago and out of state.  While it's not the extremely long sentence most of us would hope for, we are delighted to learn about the guilty pleas on what were very difficult circumstances for the prosecution.  Knowing that Mr. Harris, now 26, will not walk the streets as a free man until at least 2020 is a very comforting thought.  Well done, all. 

Thank you to the 19th and 20th District court advocates for following this case for so long.  We hope that the elderly woman who was the victim of Mr. Harris and Mr. Heard finds some comfort and vindication in knowing they are both incarcerated for a good long time.


  1. He got off too easy and hope he pays his dues in jail 10 times over.

  2. I am outraged at this lenient sentence. Robbing and raping an elderly woman at gunpoint??? These bastards should be spending the rest of their lives in prison. God help us all when they are released back on the streets to terrorize again.

  3. As someone who was in court on this as a court advocate, of COURSE we wanted a longer sentence. But the victim was completely terrorized, to the point where she couldn't consider Chicago home anymore. The witnesses, who were his co-conspirators, would not testify against him. Nor would the very traumatized victims of the garage robberies. The fact that ANY conviction happened is pretty much a testament to the skill and doggedness of Joy Repella from the State's Attorney's Office (and the North Side Community Justice Center). He was holding out for a jury trial, which was supposed to take place on June 5th, and we all know it only takes one juror not to believe the state's case, and he could have walked free. Believe me, a 26-year-old guy is not looking at ten years *minimum* in Statesville as an "easy" sentence. I am glad both guys are off the street, because it was far from a sure thing. If they had walked free, THAT's a good reason to be outraged. They're gone for at least a decade, and that's good.