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75-year sentence for man who killed 8-year-old

Steshawn Brisco   |   Cook County Sheriff's office photo

Steshawn Brisco | Cook County Sheriff's office photo

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Updated: January 15, 2013 7:32PM

A Far South Side man gave a thumbs up in court Tuesday as he was being led away to begin serving a 75-year prison sentence for gunning down an 8-year-old girl and wounding her cousin.

Cook County Judge Stanley Sacks said Brisco may never again walk the streets where he shot the two girls in the head with his co-defendant, Marcus Cocroft.

“I’ll be back,” Brisco, 20, muttered after Sacks sentenced him for murdering Tanaja Stokes and injuring a 7-year-old Ariana Jones while they jumped rope and practiced cheerleading moves near 107th and Indiana on Aug. 10, 2010.

Although Brisco and Cocroft didn’t intend to harm the girls as they fired bullets from their bikes, they later bragged about their actions as if they “won an Academy Award” and brushed off concerns that they may have hurt some children, Sacks said.

“I don’t care. We let the whole 40-clip go,” Brisco allegedly said, according to court testimony last fall.

“They didn’t care who got hit,” Sacks said Tuesday, lambasting the gunmen for a “callous indifference to human life.”

Brisco and Cocroft’s shooting spree apparently was sparked by an ongoing feud in the neighborhood, prosecutors said.

In her victim impact statement, Tanaja’s mother, Debra Thomas, told Brisco, “She was only 8 years old. You never even gave her a chance to run.”

“We loved her so much, and for her family to have to see her lying on the ground in a puddle of her own blood was heartbreaking. . . . You guys deserve to rot in hell,” assistant state’s attorney Thomas Darman said, reading from the statement.

Thomas’ sister, Alice, also expressed her feelings through Darman.

Ariana is still bearing the psychological impact of watching her cousin die, Alice Thomas said in her victim impact statement

“Ariana is scared to trust anyone now. She barely goes to school because she is either going into shock, panic attacks, seizures, or more. . . . How would you feel if your child, sister, mom or grandmother got their brains blown out in front of you?” her statement read.

Brisco chose not to speak about his crimes, but he shook his head and made comments, irking the judge.

“Mr. Brisco, why don’t you just shut up,” Sacks seethed.

Cocroft, 18, was sentenced to 55 years in prison in November.

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