“One of the gentlemen said that it was determined that he had been rehabilitated.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx decided not to pursue a stiff prison sentence for a man convicted of murder, according to a Wednesday report by ABC 7.
ABC 7’s I-Team, which has been investigating Foxx since her decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett, discovered the county’s top prosecutor decided not to pursue a prison sentence for one of the convicted killers of 16-year-old Derrion Albert.
Albert, at the time a Fenger High School honors student, was walking home from school in 2009 when he was caught in the middle of a gang fight and killed.
Prosecutors charged four teens involved in the death as adults. Three of the teens were convicted at trial, while another plead guilty. All four are currently in prison for the crime.
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Another teen, known then as “D.J.”, was 14-years-old at the time of the slaying. Prosecutors say he punched Albert, knocked him down, and told the teen he had “signed his death certificate.”
According to ABC 7, D.J. was charged as a juvenile under a special kind of case known as Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile prosecution (EJJ).
With an EJJ prosecution, D.J. was convicted as a juvenile with an underlying 30 year prison sentence for murder that would be stayed unless he was later convicted of another felony after release from his juvenile detention.
According to Albert’s family, then-Assistant State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was the one pushing the EJJ prosecution as the best course of action.
“Kim Foxx kept telling us that was the best way to go, that way we have some kind of, the safety net,” said Anjanette Albert, Derrion’s mother. “That way if he got in trouble he goes back, that’s what it is.”
In 2015, a then 20-year-old D.J. was identified as Dionte Johnson when he was arrested and charged with felony for fleeing from Chicago police. Prosecutors filed a notice that they were “seeking to revoke stay of his adult sentence.”
Johnson was convicted of the felony on November 8, 2016, the same day Kim Foxx, the prosecutor that oversaw Albert’s case, won the State’s Attorney election.
Shortly after Foxx took office, prosecutors decided they were no longer pursuing the 30-year sentence against Johnson. Instead, they recommended to the judge that Johnson be put on probation.
Prosecutors called the Albert family to a meeting at a local juvenile court building to let them know they weren’t going to pursue the 30-year sentence against Johnson.
“They call us down there and tell us that the state’s attorney decided to not pursue the motion,” said Norman Golliday, Derrion’s grandfather.
“One of the gentlemen said that it was determined that he had been rehabilitated,” said Golliday. “My face almost fell off my head. I could not believe that the guy actually said that.”
Anjanette Albert said she was told the decision was Foxx’s.
“Kim Foxx decided not to go any further with this to just – it’s over. She’s going to drop it, and he’s going to get out, and there was nothing that we could do,” Anjanette said.
Anjanette said she repeatedly tried to call Foxx’s office for an explanation, but never received a call back.
“I felt like she sat in our face, she cried with us, she hugged us and then you turn around and let this murderer, I don’t care how old he is, he was convicted of first degree murder,” she told ABC 7. “My son is not here anymore and she gave us all this hope and she promised us that this was going to be OK. And it didn’t turn out like that.”
Asked what they would say to Foxx if given the chance to speak to her, Albert’s family didn’t hold back.
“I would just look her straight in her eye and ask her why? Why would she do that?” said Golliday
“I don’t have anything to say to Kim Foxx,” said Albert. “The person that I thought that she was, her heart, her kindness the way that she was with us in court, that’s, I don’t never want to see her again. Never.”
A spokesman for Foxx told ABC 7 in a statement that pursuing the prison sentence against Johnson “was not in the interest of justice.”
“Based on the Class 4 Felony, which carries a sentencing range of probation or up to three years in prison, it was not in the interest of justice to pursue a 30 year prison sentence in this case,” the statement said.
ABC 7 also reported that Dionte Johnson and his attorney had no comment on the story.
The story comes as Foxx faces heavy scrutiny following her decision to drop 16 felony charges against former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
Last Thursday, organizations representing suburban Chicago police agencies and the Fraternal Order of Police convened a press conference to demand the resignation of Foxx. Citing not just the Smollett case, but her soft on-crime prosecutorial decision making, the police organizations said their membership took a vote of “no confidence” in Foxx’s leadership.
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