Boy who watched 1994 murder of brother, 5, faces life in prison
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporterrhussain@suntimes.com
Derrick Lemon was “forgotten by society” after he endured the “horrible, horrible tragedy” of watching his younger brother die, Lemon’s attorney contended Tuesday.
But the pain and agony stemming from his sibling’s high-profile murder should have kept Lemon from slaying a family friend, the victim’s relatives said, urging a Cook County judge to impose a severe sentence.
“Why did you do this to my dad?” Illya Glover’s daughter Crystal said in a statement she was too distraught to read in court. “. . . You know how it feels to lose a loved one and you still committed this crime.”
Lemon, 24, was only 8 when he tried to grab his 5-year-old brother before the boy was tossed out of a 14th-floor window of an abandoned Ida B. Wells high-rise in 1994. Eric Morse’s killers were apparently angry at Eric because he refused to steal candy for them. The murderers were only 10 and 11. The incident received international attention.
“It had a bad impact,” Lemon’s stepfather, Ronald Watson, said in testimony about how the murder affected Lemon. “He had trouble trusting people. Sometimes at night, he would dream and holler.”
In July, Lemon was convicted of murdering Glover during a heated argument at a family barbecue.
Glover, 40, was trying to stop Lemon from choking Glover’s girlfriend — who is Lemon’s aunt — on March 1, 2006, in the 400 block of West 57th. Lemon shot Glover.
Glover’s “gallantry cost him his life,” assistant state’s attorney Suzi Collins said at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.
Lemon, whose family was awarded $2.175 million in a settlement with the CHA, has been in trouble with the law for most of his life, prosecutors said.
While on probation for a 2004 burglary conviction, Lemon was arrested for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, Collins said.
While out on $750,000 bail while awaiting trial in the Glover murder case last year, Lemon was charged with home invasion and intimidating a witness. He was accused of breaking into the witness’ house and brandished a gun, prosecutors said.
“Derrick Lemon thinks he’s above the law. He thinks he’s the king of the neighborhood,” Collins said.
Lemon’s lawyer, Wayne Brucar, asked Judge Thomas Hennelly to take into consideration how Eric’s death affected his client’s mind.
Although a fund was established to pay for Lemon’s long-term counseling needs, he barely got the help he needed, Watson said.
Others said Lemon has a softer side.
Lemon’s ex-girlfriend Lakeesha Perkins said he was “loving and caring.”
His sister Melody Morse said Lemon is a “great brother” who paid for her prom and “would buy her anything.”
Hennelly said he wanted to give “full attention” to the factors in the case before making a decision and scheduled an April 4 sentencing.
Gail Glover said she didn’t mind waiting a few more weeks before her brother’s murderer was sentenced, but she was sad that her mother, who died of cancer Saturday, would miss it.
Gail Glover’s family were Lemon’s neighbors and had known him since he was a child.
“At the time, I felt real sorry for the family. But he got all this money and he could have done something to be the person who they said he was in court. Instead he wanted to hang out on the corner,” Gail Glover said.
Lemon faces 45 years to life in prison.