Lone adult member of Lake County Five sentenced to 1 year in prison
Diamond Davis, one of the five Chicago teens initially charged with felony murder in connection with a car theft gone wrong in Old Mill Creek this summer, was sentenced to one year in prison and one year of court supervision by a Lake County judge Tuesday.
Davis, 18, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit burglary, a felony punishable by up to three years in prison, and criminal trespass to a vehicle, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail.
Davis will get credit for the 85 days she has served at the Lake County jail since her arrest on Aug. 13. She will be eligible to receive day for day sentencing, which means with good behavior she could get out in half the time.
Judge Victoria Rosetti said she considered all of the factors of the case when making her decision. She described Davis' guilty plea as the first step toward rehabilitation, but Rosetti also said Davis knew it was wrong to steal from cars and decided to do it anyway.
"You are taught from an early age it's wrong to take something that isn't yours, whether it's a cookie or stealing something out of a car," Rosetti said. "Probation would depreciate the seriousness of the crime."
Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim initially charged Davis and four others, all teen boys from Chicago, with felony murder in the death of their accomplice, 14-year-old Jaquan Swopes, who was shot by a homeowner during what authorities described as an attempted car theft Aug. 13.
State's Attorney's Office spokesman Lee Filas said he wasn't able to comment on Davis' case because the other juvenile cases are still pending.
According to authorities, Davis, the four boys and Swopes drove to Old Mill Creek to steal a car. The 75-year-old homeowner fired several shots at the group, striking Swopes in the head and the stolen car the teens were driving.
The teens fled in the car and stopped at the scene of an unrelated traffic accident in Gurnee and asked police for medical help for Jaquan. One of the 17-year-olds stayed with Jaquan, while the rest -- including Davis -- drove to Chicago pursued by police, only stopping when their vehicle ran out of gas.
"She was the only adult present," said Assistant State's Attorney Ken LaRue in arguing for prison time. "Not only did she abandon her cousin (Swopes) after he was shot, she jumped back in the car."
LaRue's comment caused Davis, who cried several times during the hearing, to exclaim and ask her lawyer why LaRue would say that.
Her lawyer, public defender Jeff Facklam, argued that probation would encourage rehabilitation more than prison time. He urged Rosetti not to give up on Davis and to sentence her to probation "to try to put a stop to her pattern of behavior."
"The goal of criminal justice is to restore people," Facklam said. "Sending people to prison does not do that."