suntimes
GRACIOUS
Weather Updates

Chicago man charged in slaying of cab driver in Evanston

Darien Lawrence Marquez Connerly

Darien Lawrence Marquez Connerly

storyidforme: 12629886
tmspicid: 4234095
fileheaderid: 2189629
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: August 30, 2011 12:17AM



A 19-year-old Chicago man, on parole for robbery, has been charged with the fatal shooting of a taxi driver in Evanston on May 15.

Darien Lawrence Marquez Connerly, of 2005 W. Jarvis Ave., was charged with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery for shooting driver Leodis Blackburn, Evanston Police Cmdr. Tom Guenther said at a press conference Monday.

Investigators said Blackburn picked up Connerly on Howard Street, and Connerly told Blackburn to stop the cab in the 500 block of Elmwood Avenue. He started to get out of the cab before pulling out a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun and demanding money, Guenther said.

When Blackburn tried to drive away, Connerly shot him once in the head before fleeing, Guenther said.

Detectives following up on an anonymous tip learned Connerly is on parole for aggravated robbery, Guenther said. Investigators then worked with state corrections personnel to arrest Connerly Saturday in Chicago.

Guenther said surveillance video from cameras in the Howard Street area showed Connerly getting into Blackburn’s cab on Howard.

Blackburn worked for Evanston Best Taxi for about 10 years, and had returned to driving a cab only a week before he was shot after working a stint as a dispatcher, said Sharon McKinley, whose family owns the company.

He was pronounced dead of his injuries three days after the shooting at St. Francis Hospital.

Employees at the closely knit cab company “are taking it hard, especially when you’re a nice guy,” McKinley said.

Blackburn, who she described as mild mannered, had a wife and a 6-year-old son, Marcus, living in Georgia, to whom he would send some of his earnings.

“It’s been terrible all week,” she said. “Everybody knew him, everybody liked him.”

She said the company was to hold a memorial service for him at 10 a.m. Tuesday at 3125 Roosevelt Road in Chicago.

Connerly, who was denied bail Monday, is scheduled to appear June 21 in Cook County Court in Skokie.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.