50 years for gun­man who killed neigh­bor in apart­ment build­ing gym

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY ANDY GRIMM, STAFF RE­PORTER agrimm@sun­times.com | @agrimm34

Reg­gie Daniel waved to his sis­ter on Fri­day as he wheeled him­self out of Cook County Judge Carol Howard’s court­room to be­gin a 50-year pri­son sen­tence for the 2016 mur­der of Dar­rin Joss.

Mo­ments ear­lier, Daniel told the judge he was sorry for shoot­ing Joss at point-blank range as Joss worked out on an el­lip­ti­cal tread­mill in the gym of the luxe River West apart­ment build­ing where the two men were neigh­bors. As he did at trial, Daniel, who is par­a­lyzed from the waist down, said that he shot Joss — in view of build­ing se­cu­rity cam­eras and wit­nesses who also were us­ing the work­out area — be­cause Joss had threat­ened him dur­ing an ar­gu­ment.

As she did in find­ing Daniel guilty fol­low­ing a bench trial in Au­gust, Howard said Joss didn’t pro­voke the fa­tal shoot­ing.

“Mr. Joss may have said some cruel things, but, again, the ar­gu­ment was over. Mr. Joss had re­tired to the ex­er­cise room,” said Howard, not­ing that the 50-year pri­son term would al­most cer­tainly be a life sen­tence for the 51-year-old Daniel. “No mat­ter how cruel Mr. Joss’ state­ments may have been, there was no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for Mr. Daniel to get a gun and re­turn and shoot him.”

Joss was a burly for­mer foot­ball player who grew up in Dubuque, Iowa, and moved to Chicago af­ter col­lege and be­came a suc­cess­ful com­modi­ties trader, his brother, Neil, said dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing. Joss loved the city, and the Cubs, and was look­ing for­ward to the start of base­ball sea­son when he was shot in March 2016, his brother said. The Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 later that fall, and Neil Joss re­called watch­ing the fi­nal game with his son from their home in Iowa.

“Af­ter the last out, we were still cheer­ing, and my son comes run­ning over to me… jumps in my arms and said, I wish Un­cle Dar­rin was here with us,” he said.

At trial, Daniel, who was par­a­lyzed in a 1987 shoot­ing, tes­ti­fied that he and Joss had feuded for weeks over Joss’ girl­friend, who had flirted with Daniel. Daniel said Joss had threat­ened him on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions and phys­i­cally as­saulted him, all al­ter­ca­tions that took place out of view of se­cu­rity cam­eras.

“I’m sorry for the ac­tions I took, but, you know, for them to call me and say I’m a cold per­son and did this out of jeal­ousy…It wasn’t jeal­ousy,” Daniel said. “It was done out of him at­tack­ing me.

“It’s sad I’m go­ing away for a long time for de­fend­ing my­self… I want them and the fam­ily to know, I’m not a mon­ster.”

Daniel tes­ti­fied that af­ter ar­gu­ing with Joss on the day of the shoot­ing, he went to his apart­ment and re­trieved a gun and shot Joss in the back of the head as he worked out. Daniel shot him a sec­ond time as he fell to the floor. The gun was never found, and Daniel said he didn’t know what hap­pened to it.

Laura Lee, a close friend of Joss, said out­side the court­room that Daniel’s story about be­ing threat­ened by Joss was “to­tal b——-.”

“Dar­rin was not a bully. He would never have hurt any­one,” she said.

Reg­gie Daniel

Dar­rin Joss

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