BY MICHAEL LANSU
Homicide Watch Chicago Editor
A West Side man who was free on bond while awaiting trial on a sexual assault charge was behind bars Monday after prosecutors said he fatally shot a 23-year-old man Friday night in the Austin community.
Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Novy said Joshua Grayer, 19, and Jermaine Powell exited the vestibule of a building in the 5500 block of West Corcoran Place and opened fire on two men in the gangway about 10 p.m. Friday.
Grayer fired at least two shots with a .38 caliber handgun, Novy said, and Powell, also 19, fired at least four shots with a .22 caliber handgun.
Denzell Franklin, whose address was not available, was shot in the face and armpit and died at the scene, authorities said.
The other man, who is 24, went to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park with a gunshot wound in his arm, Chicago Police said.
Police officers about 30 yards away heard the gunshots and saw Grayer and Powell running from the scene, Novy said.
The officers chased and eventually arrested both men. When officers retraced their attempted escape routes, they found both handguns, Novy said.
Grayer, of the 1200 block of South St. Louis Avenue, and Powell, of the 5900 block of West Huron Street, both were charged with first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, police said.
Grayer, who suffered a graze wound during the shooting, had been free on bond as he awaited trial on a 2013 aggravated criminal sexual assault charge, Novy said.
In the sexual assault case, prosecutors had said Grayer was one of nine males in a van that approached three teenage girls walking in the 700 block of North Parkside Avenue. The girls agreed to get in the van, and two of the girls drank alcohol and smoked marijuana with the group, prosecutors said.
All three girls were then sexually assaulted in the van, prosecutors said.
Grayer’s mother, a city Department of Water Management employee, used deferred compensation to post the required $10,000 bond to free her son in the sexual assault case, his lawyer said.
Grayer is a lifelong resident of Cook County and is in school, his lawyer said.
Powell obtained his GED in 2013 and lives with his grandmother, according to a public defender. He is expecting his first child in six months.
On Monday, Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered both men held without bond in the shooting. She also ordered Grayer held without bond on the sexual assault charge.