The four suspects arrested in the alleged hate crime that was streamed live on Facebook were charged in court Friday and ordered held without bail.
Jordan Hill, 18, Tesfaye Cooper, 18, and sisters Tanishia, 24, and Brittany Covington, 18, had their first court appearance at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Cook County. The Chicago Tribune reports that all four were dressed in street clothes and entered the courtroom amid heavy security. Cooper was reportedly smirking as he walked to stand before the judge.
Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Antionetti detailed the charges against the group, and Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil, citing the egregiousness of the allegations against them, ordered that the four be held without bail.
The judge addressed each defendant individually, the Tribune reports.
She noted that Brittany Covington was going to college, Tanishia was a parent, Cooper had a paralyzed brother, and Hill lived with his mother.
“I’m looking at each of you and wondering where was the sense of decency that each of you should have had,” Ciesil said. “I don’t see it.”
Priscilla Covington, grandmother to the two sisters charged in the attack, rushed past reporters outside of the courthouse and apologized for the women’s actions.
“I didn’t raise them like that,” Priscilla Covington said.
As previously reported on The Root, the horrific attack was captured on a Facebook Live video In one video on a woman’s Facebook page, a man threatens the victim with a knife. Someone tells the victim, “Kiss the floor [b–ch]!” and “Nobody can help you anymore.” At another point, someone told the victim to “say ‘I love black people.’”
On Friday, authorities alleged for the first time that Hill, who knew the 18-year-old victim and attended the same alternative school with him, first beat the victim in the back of a van after he became angry that the teen’s mother was contacting him on Facebook and asking about her son’s whereabouts. The Tribune reports that prosecutors said Hill demanded $300 from the victim’s mother if she wanted her son back.
Later, Facebook Live captured video of the abuse in the sisters’ Chicago apartment.
All four suspects have been charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Hill is also charged with robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and residential burglary. Both Covington sisters have also been charged with residential burglary.
The 18-year-old victim, who lives with his parents in Streamwood, Il., has schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to prosecutors. His brother-in-law, David Boyd, said Friday that the teen has been “struggling” to recover after his ordeal, but is safe with his family.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.