Here’s an unusual take on justice.
A group of six teenagers drove a stolen Lexus sport utility vehicle to a Chicago residence with the alleged intention of robbing it.
However, the home’s 75-year-old owner had different plans.
Believing the gang was trying to steal his 2011 Audi, the man went outside to investigate.
In the process, according to a statement by police, “At least one of the male subjects advanced toward him with an unknown object in his hand.”
At least one of the bullets struck a 14-year-old.
The man called 911 and reported the incident. Police found a small knife at the scene and no sign of the car thieves.
About three miles away, cops were attending to a traffic accident when the Lexus pulled up. Two of the teens flagged officers to help their friend with his gunshot to the head.
According to Detective Sgt. Chris Covelli at a news conference, while the boys in blue administered first aid and an ambulance was summoned, 4 of the kids took off in the SUV “at a high rate of speed.”
That prompted a police chase at 120 miles per hour — ’til the Lexus ran out of gas.
After a foot race, three were captured quickly. A police dog found the remaining goof in a dumpster a block away.
All 5 teens — a 16 year-old, three 17-year-olds, and an 18-year-old — are being charged as adults with murder in the first degree: Their youngest team member didn’t make it.
The official statement explains:
[They were charged with murder] due to them being in commission of a forcible felony, when the 14-year-old victim was shot and subsequently died as a result of being shot during the commission of a burglary.
On Tuesday, the crew appeared in court. Bail was set at $1 million each. They’ll return on September 5th.
NBC reports on Chicago’s mechanisms of justice:
Illinois’ felony murder law allows prosecutors to charge a perpetrator with murder if someone dies while a forcible felony is committed. In Illinois, forcible felonies include robberies or burglaries.
In some cases, the person killed might be an innocent bystander, and prosecutors’ ability to include a murder charge is meant to send a strong message of deterrence, said Andrew Leipold, a criminal law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law.
“The idea is: Don’t do felonies, and if you do, you’re taking on the risk that you can be charged even if you didn’t intend for something bad to happen,” Leipold said. “States have taken different views. The theory is it’s a greater deterrence if you say, ‘No excuses, no exceptions. You started down this road and if anything happens, it’s on you.'”
Leipold added that suspects who are tied to forcible felony cases don’t have to have been holding a weapon or even at the scene when the death occurred.
“Even if I’m the getaway driver, I’m an accomplice to your robbery and it’s a forcible felony,” Leipold said.
Given the circumstances, are the murder charges just? I look forward to hearing from you in the Comments section.
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