Angelo Bennett / Photo from Cook County Sheriff’s office
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN
An Austin man was convicted Tuesday of gunning down a Far South Side gentleman’s club manager and wounding the victim’s fiancée after a traffic dispute on Goose Island.
Charles E. Jones’ friends and family applauded when Cook County Judge Carol Howard found Angelo Bennett guilty of murder and attempted murder for the May 26, 2013, incident.
Bennett claimed he shot Jones in self defense.
The judge said Jones, 42, shouldn’t have beaten Bennett in the head after Jones’ Maserati and Bennett’s Buick LaCrosse collided, but she believed the fight was over when Bennett decided to grab his .38-caliber revolver and shoot Jones twice in the face, killing him.
Bennett, 26, testified earlier Tuesday he was “terrified” of the burly Jones and only fired to protect his “smaller” friend who was with him.
Bennett, who was a manager of two Chicago-area Jimmy Johns, said he did not know how Jones’ fiancée, Kathy Bias, ended up with a gunshot wound to her back as she tried to drive away in Jones’ car.
But Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Joyce said Bennett intentionally aimed at Bias because he didn’t want any witnesses to the crime.
Bias, now 46, survived and testified during the two-day trial.
Bennett said he initially tried exchanging information with Jones after the fender-bender but said Jones waved him off, screaming, “Get that out of my face. This is a $70,000 car.”
Bennett then drove away to the 1000 block of North Branch Street because he didn’t want officers investigating the crash to find the gun he had in the car, according to court testimony.
Jones and Bias drove after Bennett, and when Bennett’s friend asked to be let out of the Buick, Bennett took his gun and hid it underneath another parked car.
Soon, Bennett said, Jones grabbed him by the collar and started attacking him with a metal object.
Jones eventually let Bennett go. But Bennett was so humiliated that he was roughed up by Jones, he retrieved his gun and shot Jones and Bias without warning, prosecutors said.