9-year-old Tyshawn Lee was still wearing his school uniform when prosecutors say he was shot in the head in a “murderous rage” by rival gang members of his father. His basketball — which he had been playing with just moments before— was found near the bloody body.
This week the murder trial began for Lee’s alleged killers, Dwright Boone-Doty and Corey Morgan, alleged members of the Bang Gang/Terror Dome faction of the Black P Stones, Fox News reports. Kevin Edwards, who prosecutors say acted as the getaway driver, pled guilty earlier this month to first-degree murder in exchange for a 25-year-sentence.
Prosecutors contend that the brutal murder that shocked the Chicago community had been part of an ongoing feud between two rival gangs.
Just one month before Lee’s 2015 killing, Morgan’s brother was killed and his mother was wounded in another shooting they believed was carried out by rival Gangster Disciples Killa Ward faction, which Lee’s father Pierre Stokes had allegedly been a part of, according to CNN.
"Shooting Morgan's mother was beyond the pale," prosecutor Margaret Hillmann said in her opening statements. "There weren't many rules in this feud, but families were off limits. They were untouchable."
The shooting infuriated Morgan, she claimed, who wanted revenge.
“He wasn’t just mad. He was in a murderous rage, saying he was going to kill grandmas, mammas, kids and whoever he could catch,” she said.
In November 2015, Morgan, Doty, and Edwards allegedly set their sights on Stokes’ 9-year-old son.
Lee arrived home from school that day and headed to the park across from his home, telling his grandmother that he’d be back soon.
“He said, ‘I love you Grandmama,’ I said, ‘I love you too.’ He said, ‘I’ll be back,’ and he didn’t come back,” his grandmother Bertha Lee recalled on the stand, according to local station WLS.
Prosecutors say after spotting Lee at Dawes Park, Doty approached the boy and began to play basketball with him, then lured him away from the park with the promise of a juice box. After getting him into an alley, prosecutors said Doty shot the young boy repeatedly.
“Dwright Doty took out a .40-caliber handgun and he executed Tyshawn in broad daylight,” Hillman said, according to CNN.
Lee was shot twice in the head and suffered a defensive injury to part of his right thumb, which had been blown off during the gunfire.
His uncle, Brian Lee, had been washing a car in front of the family’s home when he heard the gunshots and then heard the commotion in a nearby alley.
“I saw him in a pool of blood,” he testified, according to The Chicago Sun Times. “It ain’t seem real to me.”
Herman Otero, a plainclothes police officer, who was the first member of law enforcement to arrive at the scene, called the heinous murder “one of the most disturbing images” he had ever seen, reports WLS.
Prosecutors are trying both men at the same time — however, the defendants each have a separate jury in the courtroom who will each determine the men’s fates based on the evidence only related to their assigned defendant.
In court, each man’s defense attorney has tried to pin blame at the other. Morgan’s attorney, Thomas Breen, appeared to point the finger at Doty.
“The execution — and it is an execution of that 9-year-old boy — has to come from one singularly evil person not from a plan,” he said, according to CNN. “His killer did so of his own volition and for his own reason, not at the behest or help of Corey Morgan.”
However, Doty’s public defender Brett Gallagher told jurors that there had been no witnesses who saw his client shoot the fourth grader and argued that it was Morgan who had the motive behind the killing, Fox News reports.
Gallagher also told jurors to dismiss any comments Doty may have made while incarcerated, arguing that his client had wanted to seem “bigger and badder” than he actually was.
“Within those walls, Mr. Doty was alone. No friends, no family, no freedom to leave,” he said.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
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