Man charged with killing of U. of I. stu­dent in­volved in 2019 chase case

Chicago Sun-Times - - CLASSIFIED­S - BY SAM CHARLES, STAFF RE­PORTER scharles@sun­times.com | @samjcharle­s

The man sus­pected in the July mur­der of a Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois stu­dent on the Far South Side was one of five Chicago teens charged with mur­der af­ter a bur­glary at­tempt turned fa­tal in the north­ern sub­urbs last year.

Cook County pros­e­cu­tors al­lege 18-yearold Steven Davis fa­tally shot Be’Rasheet Mitchell, 21, in the 200 block of East 107th Street on July 16. Au­thor­i­ties say Mitchell was try­ing to de­fend his sis­ter — Davis’ girl­friend — dur­ing a do­mes­tic in­ci­dent when the shoot­ing hap­pened.

Mitchell, who was pur­su­ing a mas­ter’s de­gree in ar­chi­tec­ture from the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois at Ur­bana-Cham­paign, was shot once in the ab­domen and died the next day at Christ Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Oak Lawn. On his LinkedIn pro­file, he said his “pas­sion in life” was “to in­vest my skills back into the com­mu­nity in or­der to im­prove qual­ity of life for peo­ple strug­gling in my com­mu­nity as well as oth­ers like it.”

Chicago de­tec­tives ar­rested Davis in Gales­burg about two weeks af­ter Mitchell was killed. Davis was charged with mur­der and is be­ing held with­out bail in the Cook County Jail.

Davis was charged with mur­der in another high-pro­file case in the north­ern sub­urbs last year, but those charges were re­duced.

“It shouldn’t have hap­pened. It shouldn’t have hap­pened,” Mitchell’s fa­ther, Manuel Mitchell, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Now I just hope that he gets what he de­serves. Know­ing his past record and this, it just seems like peo­ple seem to slip through the holes in some cases like this, and I don’t want to see that hap­pen.

“He needs to spend the rest of his days in jail, think­ing about what he did.”

Davis was one of five Chicago teens charged with mur­der in Lake County in Au­gust 2019. Lake County po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors said at the time the group — orig­i­nally six peo­ple — trav­eled to the north­ern sub­urbs from Chicago to com­mit bur­glar­ies.

The teens were try­ing to break into a car in Old Mill Creek when the ve­hi­cle’s owner came out­side, po­lice said at the time. Two of the teens ap­proached the man, 75, be­fore he fired at least three rounds from a re­volver. The man had a valid FOID card and a con­cealed carry per­mit.

One of those bul­lets struck 14-year-old Jaquan Swopes in the head. He died a short time later at a hos­pi­tal. The other five teens then led po­lice on a 40-mile chase through the north­ern sub­urbs and back into the city, where they were even­tu­ally ar­rested.

Us­ing the state’s felony mur­der rule — a law that al­lows ac­com­plices to be charged with mur­der in cases where some­one dies while com­mit­ting a felony — Lake County pros­e­cu­tors ini­tially charged Davis and the other four with first-de­gree mur­der.

“The teens were charged 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,” the Lake County sher­iff ’s of­fice said in Au­gust 2019.

The mur­der charges were dropped the next month. Four de­fen­dants, who were mi­nors at the time, saw their cases trans­ferred to ju­ve­nile court, where records are sealed from the pub­lic. It’s un­known how those cases were ad­ju­di­cated. The fifth de­fen­dant, who was 18, saw her charges re­duced to con­spir­acy to com­mit bur­glary and crim­i­nal tres­pass to a ve­hi­cle.

Davis’ at­tor­ney de­clined to com­ment on his past and cur­rent charges.

In a state­ment is­sued Thurs­day, the Lake County state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice said: “The ju­ve­nile jus­tice sys­tem can never pre­dict how ev­ery per­son will re­spond to treat­ment and can never guar­an­tee that a per­son will not re­lapse into crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity. What we can do is eval­u­ate the facts and cir­cum­stances that con­front us at a par­tic­u­lar mo­ment in time, then use our best judg­ment to de­ter­mine the most ap­pro­pri­ate way to re­solve in­di­vid­ual cases.

“Many youth that en­ter our ju­ve­nile jus­tice sys­tem suc­cess­fully com­plete the re­quire­ments placed upon them and go on to be­come pro­duc­tive adults. That was our hope in this case. It is un­for­tu­nate this of­fender chose not to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity and, in­stead, al­legedly chose to con­tinue a de­struc­tive path,” the state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice said.

Steven Davis

Be’Rasheet Mitchell

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