Chicago police are finally calling the horrific crimes committed against a white disabled man in Chicago a hate crime and released the names of the alleged culprits. They are Jordan Hill, 18, Tesfaye Cooper, 18, Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24 and faced hate crime and aggravated battery charges after torturing the man while shouting things like “F–k white people” and “F–k Trump.” In addition to cutting and beating the 18-year-old mentally disabled man, the suspects forced him to drink from a toilet. They are looking at sentences that could reach 50 years in jail if convicted.
As discussed yesterday, the initial response to the Facebook videotape of the torturing of the man was bizarre. When pressed about the absence of any word on a charge of a hate crime, Area North Detectives Commander Kevin Duffin said the department was considering whether race was a motivation and added “They’re young adults. And they make stupid decisions. That certainly will be part of whether or not we seek a hate crime to determine whether this is sincere or just stupid ranting and raving.”
Even more chilling, the victim was a classmate of one of the suspects and was held for over 24 hours.
Hill is charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, robbery, residential burglary.
Cooper is charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and residential burglary.
Brittany Covington was charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and residential burglary.
Tanishia Covington was charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Their trial will be undermined not only by their own videotape but their expressions of fun and mirth, including one exclaiming how the torture is “hilarious” and others holding him up for the camera as the others laugh at his bloody, whimpering image:
The victim is a special needs student and knew Jordan Hill from school in Aurora, Illinois. His parents dropped him off at a McDonald’s in Streamwood on Saturday because he wanted to spend the night with Hill. They reportedly him missing on Monday when they could not get in touch with him. Police say that Hill picked the victim up in a stolen van. The victim was unaware that the van was stolen. For two days, the victim hanged around with Hill and slept in the van at night. On Tuesday, things turned nightmarish when they visited the two Covington sisters. The sisters allegedly tied up the victim and the group tortured him for six hours, including at least one half an hour posted on Facebook. You can hear them yelling “F–k white people” and “f–k Trump.” The victim was screaming in pain and eventually neighbors called police.
As neighbors complained about the noise, the victim ran from the apartment and was found by a police officer wearing only a tank top and shorts and “bloodied and bruised.”
The plethora of charges and videotapes will likely prompt defense counsel to seek plea bargains. If the videotape shows one of the four as mainly filming, there could be a deal reached to testify against the others if prosecutors want to seek maximum sentencing. There could be a claim of drug use or other mitigating circumstances but this videotape will undermine such defense arguments. Jurors do not generally take to such defenses when they can see four people enjoying the torture of a harmless, disabled man — and a friend of one of the abusers. They are, in other words, without a good option for the defense since this tape will get into evidence.