A Cook County judge denied bail Friday for four suspects charged with the torture and beating of an 18-year-old man with mental health challenges that was broadcast on Facebook Live.
Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Antonietti said that two of the suspects ordered the victim, who suffered from schizophrenia and was assaulted and humiliated for hours, to say “I love Black people” and “f— Trump.” The suspects also repeatedly beat the teen and two of the suspects shoved his head into a toilet and made him drink from it, prosecutors said.
“Where was your sense of decency?” asked Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil before rejecting the suspects plea for a reasonable bail.
Cook County prosecutors office charged Jordan Hill, 18, of Chicago; as well as Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Cicero, Ill.; and sisters Brittany Covington, 18; and Tanishia Covington, 24, of Chicago, with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and residential burglary in the alleged torture and kidnapping of the special-needs teen.
Prosecutors cited both the victim’s race – he is white – and disability as the reason he was targeted by the suspects. Those factors allowed authorities to charge the suspects with a hate crime.
Hill also was charged with robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Antonietti said that victim and Hill knew each other after attending the same alternative high school in suburban Chicago.
The victim’s mother dropped him off on Dec. 31 at a McDonald’s in suburban Streamwood, so he could meet a friend that turned out to be Hill.
After leaving McDonald’s, Hill, the victim and a third unidentified person went to buy and smoke marijuana, authorities said.
The teen contacted his mother on that day and again on New Year’s Day to tell her he wanted to spend the night at his friend Jordan’s home. But the family said they stopped hearing from the victim on Monday and were concerned, prosecutors said.
The victim’s brother was able to figure out from Facebook that he was with Hill. The victim’s mother reached out to Hill through Facebook and requested he put her in contact with her son, who investigators later learned had driven to the West side of Chicago with Hill and a second unidentified individual in a stolen van.
At some point, Hill had become angry that the victim’s mother had contacted him, and beat the victim in the back of the van. He also took the victim’s cell phone and SIM card and then took him to him to the apartment on the city’s West Side, where Brittany and Tanishia Covington lived.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Aamer Madhani