BY SUN-TIMES STAFF
Demacio and Demario Bailey were supposed to be celebrating their 16th birthday on Tuesday. Instead, two other brothers stood before a judge, accused of being part of a robbery spree that left Demario dead under an Englewood viaduct.
Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said brothers Tarik and Deafro Brakes, along with Isiah Penn and Carlos Johnson, went to the viaduct in the 0-100 block of West 63rd Street Saturday afternoon with a “preconceived plan” to rob people at gunpoint.
After the group robbed a 17-year-old boy and 33-year-old man they moved on to the Bailey brothers, who were walking through the viaduct on their way to Johnson College Prep, where Demacio had basketball practice.
After confronting the Bailey brothers, “the offenders, while brandishing a loaded handgun, began to rifle through the victim’s pockets as they said, ‘Give it up,’” Santini had said.
When the Bailey brothers resisted, one of the robbers shot Demario. Relatives said Demario was fatally shot in the chest when he wouldn’t hand over the winter coat his mother had recently bought him.
Demacio ran after hearing the gunshot, Santini said.
“After reaching the end of the viaduct, the 15-year-old victim realized that his brother wasn’t with him and immediately returned to the viaduct,” Santini said. “He found his twin brother lying face up mortally wounded from a gunshot to the upper chest.”
Santini said “the last person seen with the gun was Tarik Brakes,” but he did not identify any of the suspects as the shooter.
A relative of Tarik Brakes’ shrieked when prosecutors said he was the last person seen with the gun.
Prosecutors say CTA and other surveillance cameras show Johnson and the other alleged robbers entering the viaduct just before the murder and leaving it shortly after.
Judge James Brown ordered the Brakes brothers held without bond as their parents watched from the courtroom. Isiah Penn, who is on parole for a 2014 juvenile robbery charge, was held on $2 million bond.
Johnson, 17, had been ordered held without bond on Monday.
Prosecutors claimed Penn made incriminating statements to police that implicating himself and his co-defendants.
William Wolf, public defender representing Penn, questioned the evidence produced during the hearing and noted the state did not release documents related to statements Penn allegedly made to police, a requirement when seeking a no bail statute.
“You didn’t see any witnesses. You didn’t see any videotape. What evidence did you hear? You heard a lawyer talking,” Wolf said. “We asked to see some of it, and they said no. And they would rather have our client have bail then us seeing the evidence. That’s something we have to question.
“They chose that they didn’t want us to see those materials because that might affect their ability to go forward in a hearing. It looks like they are trying to keep their tools that they have at their disposal close to the vest.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said the public defender was not given Penn’s statements in order “to move forward” with Tuesday’s bond hearing.
“They were asking for discovery that we were not in the position to give at this point,” Alvarez said. “It will come later. It’s a process of reports.”
Alvarez called Demario’s murder tragic and painful, but said it strengthens her argument that juveniles ages 15 to 17 who are charged in the most serious crimes — murder, armed robbery with a firearm, aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, aggravated battery with a firearm, and unlawful use of a weapon on school grounds — should be tried as adults.
“This cold blooded and heinous murder of Demario Bailey by four 16 and 17-year-olds screams out for serious laws for juvenile offenders with existing criminal histories, who are out on our streets terrorizing innocent children, and other citizens,” Alvarez said.
She noted if the teens were tried in the juvenile system they would have only received four to five years in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.
“My view is that is by no means an appropriate measure of justice for a young promising life, a young main raised by a very devoted mother, a grandmother, a twin brother, a Chicago working class family that deserved to be kept safe from this insane street violence,” Alvarez said. “This case is truly tragic and it’s disheartening. It serves as a sobering reminder that we have to do much better.”
Demario Bailey / Submitted photo
Tarik Brakes, 16, is a student at Englewood High School and Deafro Brakes, 17, is a student at McKinley, according to their public defenders. Penn, 17, lives with his mother, sister and brother, his lawyer said.
Demario, an honor roll student at Johnson College Prep, dreamed of attending college and becoming an attorney or a police officer, according to close friend Charles Kirk.
On Tuesday, teachers and classmates at Johnson Prep planned to throw a 16th birthday celebration for the brothers this afternoon at the Englewood school.
Demario and his twin, Demacio, had hoped to celebrate at Dave & Busters, a Near North Side video arcade and restaurant, family members said.
Demacio played in a school basketball game Monday night to honor his brother, who was his biggest fan. Before the game, players observed a moment of silence to honor Demario, who was on the pep squad and banged a drum at games to amp up the crowd.
Demario would regularly accompany his brother to basketball practice, even though he was not on the team. The brothers were walking from a bus stop to one of those practices at Johnson Prep when Demario was killed.
Demacio scored four points Monday night during the 64-41 loss to Leyden High.
Following the game, the twins’ mother, Delores Bailey, made a passionate plea to end senseless violence.
“We need to stick together. Mothers get up and let’s live for our kids,” said Delores Bailey with tears streaming down her cheeks. “We don’t want to let them out because we scared because we know a day like this is coming.”
To avoid Demario’s fate, she called on parents to organize car pools for their kids.
“Let’s get [our kids] to where they need to be,” Delores Bailey said. “If you all don’t do it, I’m going to do it myself. I promise you, if I have to put them in my car … and drop them off and pick them up.”
“I don’t want nobody else — no other mother — to feel this,” she said as she left the gym.
The team had come out of the locker room alongside the boys’ family. With Demacio in the lead, the players lined up single-file and marched to their bus chanting, “We will live, not die.”