Police reports document Facebook torture suspect's escapades in hours before video
One of the men accused in the torture of an 18-year-old with a mental illness that was broadcast on Facebook spent the days leading up to the attack involved in a strange episode during which he was stopped by police but not arrested.
Police reports from four suburbs detail missing and stolen cars and missed opportunities to stop 18-year-old Jordan Hill before the assault on the Crystal Lake teen, for which Hill and three others face charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, among others. They were also charged with hate crimes. The four accused attackers are black and their victim is white.
Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, 18, Tanishia Covington, 24, and Brittany Covington, 18, are accused in the Jan. 3 attack on the teen, who had known Hill from going to school with him in Aurora. The four are being held without bond at the Cook County jail.
But on the day police say Hill met up with the victim, Hill had been pulled over in the parking lot of a Streamwood Burger King, driving a Marengo woman's car with an open bottle of liquor under the seat and no driver's license on him -- things for which Hill could have been arrested, though he was not.
Hill barely dodged other encounters with police in a saga that began when a 21-year-old man from Marengo lent out his mom's car during his work shift at the Hampshire McDonald's.
See a timeline of the events here.
The red Impala
The car Hill was caught driving New Year's Eve in Streamwood had been missing since the day before, but was not reported stolen. Had it been, the outcome of Hill's encounter with police at the Burger King undoubtedly would have been different.
The red 2009 Chevrolet Impala belonged to a Marengo women, according to a Hampshire police report.
Her son, 21, told police he drove the car to his job at the Hampshire McDonald's Dec. 30 and lent it to two men at 11 a.m. The son knew the men, whom he had met online, only as Joe and Pete, according to the police report.
Much later, another man reported to another police department that one of the borrowers of the car was named Jordan, last name unknown.
The Marengo 21-year-old said he told the men to bring back the car at 6 p.m. when his shift ended. But the men returned in a different car, a white Nissan Sentra, according to the police report. The 21-year-old, who is not charged with any crime, got in.
He told Hampshire police he was driven in the white Sentra to Rolling Meadows and that he was abandoned at the BP gas station at 2059 Hicks Road. The 21-year-old said the men asked him to go in and buy some items, then drove away with his phone and cash.
By the time the Marengo man called Hampshire police, it was 15 hours after he lent out the red Impala and eight hours after he got into the white Sentra.
He wanted to report the red Impala stolen, he told Hampshire police. But while he talked with an officer, he got a text message on his sister's phone saying the car would be returned "shortly," the police report states.
He then told officers he didn't want to report the car stolen, so Hampshire police did not enter the car's information into the National Crime Information Center's database, which would have alerted authorities in other jurisdictions.
The Marengo man's interview with Hampshire police, in the early hours of Dec. 31, was his second police report in less than three hours.
Upset about the loss of his phone, he had already contacted Rolling Meadows police just before midnight after being abandoned at the BP station.
His report to Rolling Meadows police led to the first hint of Hill's link to the red Impala.
The Marengo man gave Rolling Meadows police the license plate of the white Sentra, and police determined the owner lives in Carpentersville. Rolling Meadows police contacted Carpentersville police, who drove to the house.
They found both the Sentra and the owner, who allowed police to search the car. The phone wasn't found.
But the Sentra's owner told Carpentersville police the phone was most likely with "Jordan," who he said had borrowed the red Impala from the Marengo man the day before, according to Carpentersville police records.
The Marengo man's report to Rolling Meadows police is significantly different from the account he gave Hampshire police. He told Rolling Meadows police he had been picked up at work by a white man he met online and knew as "LeftyDaPlug." There were three black men in the car he didn't know. And the Marengo man told Rolling Meadows police he was asked to go inside the BP station to fetch a bag of marijuana that had been hidden under a garbage can in the restroom. The car drove off while he was fruitlessly searching, he told Rolling Meadows police. He never mentioned to them that his mother's car was missing.
Attempts to reach the Marengo man were unsuccessful, but his mother said he was traumatized by the ordeal. She said her son told her he had been threatened by the men involved. The Daily Herald is not naming the Marengo man nor his mother for that reason.
She said her family didn't want to press charges for fear of retaliation. She said her car was in decent condition when she eventually recovered it, but was "completely out of oil."
The traffic stop
Eighteen hours after the promise it would be returned "shortly," the red Impala caught the eye of a Streamwood police officer.
The officer spotted a man "standing through the sun roof" at 8:33 p.m. Dec. 31 while the car was driving in the parking lot of a Burger King at 111 E. Irving Park Road.
The driver identified himself as Jordan Nunlly, an alias Hill uses, according to Streamwood police. In the passenger seat was Myles J. Dabney, 19.
The Streamwood police report states neither man possessed identification, but Police Chief Ed Valente said the officer likely ran both names through dispatch and was satisfied the men were telling the truth. Hill could have been cited for driving without a license, but Valente said it's not uncommon for officers to let that go if the identification checks out, calling it "officer's discretion."
According to the Streamwood report, the officer questioned why Hill was driving a car that didn't belong to him and Hill said he had borrowed it. Hill then called the Marengo man to tell him the car's location. The report does not indicate whether police spoke with the Marengo man.
The officer searched the car and found an "opened, but full bottle" of New Amsterdam peach-flavored vodka. Dabney claimed ownership of the bottle and was arrested and charged with illegal possession of alcohol by a minor. State law allows police to also arrest the driver of vehicles transporting alcohol with a "broken seal," but Hill was not charged with that, either. Valente again called it "officer discretion."
The officer confiscated the car keys to turn them over to the owner, took Dabney to the police station and released Hill, who had moved out of his grandmother's Streamwood house two months ago. It is unclear where he had been staying.
While not charged with anything related to the red Impala, Hill is charged with stealing a van Jan. 2 from a Streamwood business and using it to drive the Crystal Lake victim to the Chicago apartment where the beating took place.
The Crystal Lake 18-year-old seen beaten in the 28-minute video isn't mentioned in any of the other police reports.
Dropped off at a Schaumburg McDonald's at about 1:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve to meet his friend Jordan, he'd called his mom that evening to pick him up.
But at about 9:30 p.m., an hour after the Streamwood officer pulled over the red Impala and sent Hill on his way, the Crystal Lake victim called his mom to say he no longer wanted to be picked up. He told her he would stay the night with a friend.