Facebook Four defendant pleads guilty to kidnapping, hate crime
A former Carpentersville resident, one of four people involved in a January 2017 assault on a Crystal Lake teen that was streamed live on social media, pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and a hate crime Thursday, according to Cook County State's Attorney spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
Jordan Hill, 20, was sentenced to eight years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to attacking the then 18-year-old, who prosecutors said has schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.
Hill, who attended Aurora's Core Academy and Hoffman Estates' Conant High School, was described by authorities as a friend of the white victim. The third of four defendants to plead guilty in the attack, Hill has received the harshest sentence so far.
At the sentencing hearing, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Judge Hooks told Hill to look at paintings and photographs of civil rights leaders on the courtroom walls, including Thurgood Marshall and Ida B. Wells.
"A lot of things you think you know, you don't know," Hooks told the defendant, according to the Sun-Times. "Every time you take an act like this … terrible act of this young man who could not defend himself, you spit on the graves of all of the people on these walls."
Hill, along with Tesfaye Cooper, 20; Tanishia Covington, 25; and her sister Brittany Covington, 20, were charged with aggravated kidnapping, a hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in the attack which unfolded between Dec. 31, 2016, and Jan 2, 2017, in Chicago. During that time, Hill called the teen's family and demanded a $300 ransom, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Hill met up with the victim on New Year's Eve 2016 at a Streamwood fast-food restaurant. Cooper joined them and the trio ended up at the Covingtons' West Side apartment. There, according to authorities, defendants punched, slapped and threatened the teen; cut a chunk of his hair and lacerated his scalp; and forced him to drink toilet water. They also made derogatory and racially tinged statements about then President-Elect Donald Trump, authorities said.
The attack was streamed live on Facebook and viewed by millions. Hill's attorney, according to the Sun-Times, denied the assault was racially motivated.
Police found the teen outside after neighbors called 911.
Brittany Covington pleaded guilty in December 2017 to a hate crime and aggravated battery with intent to disseminate on video. She was sentenced to four years probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and obtain her general equivalency diploma. She was also prohibited from contact with gang members and was banned from social media for four years. Earlier this year, however, she was charged with violating her probation after prosecutors said software installed on her cellphone indicated someone logged onto Facebook from that device.
Illinois Department of Corrections records show Tanishia Covington pleaded guilty in April to aggravated battery, intimidation and a hate crime in exchange for a three-year sentence.
Cooper next appears in court on July 12. Brittany Covington returns to court on Aug. 7.