Suspect charged in 2011 slaying of Anthony Fearn
By BRIAN STANLEY firstname.lastname@example.org September 26, 2012 11:36AM
Grandmother Lois Bush with photos of her grandson Anthony Fearn who was murdered on July 9, 2011 as a bystander in Joliet and the photos were taken at her home on Friday, July 6, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 29, 2012 6:25AM
JOLIET — On Tuesday, Lois Bush slept through the night for the first time in more than a year.
“I had really not thought they would ever catch him. It had been a while, but I got that phone call from Detective (Shawn) Filipiak I was excited knowing he wouldn’t get away with Anthony’s killing,” she said.
Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, Filipiak had Judge Edward Burmilla sign a warrant to arrest Jevon Lesley for the July 9, 2011, murder of Anthony Fearn.
Fearn, 18, and some friends went to a late-night party at the KO Zone Boxing Club, 218 E. Cass St., but the business closed when Vice Lords and Gangster Disciples began arguing near the entrance.
With a large crowd on the street, witnesses told police men were shouting gang slogans toward the club when one man took out a handgun and started firing blindly. Fleeing around the corner of Arch Court with other bystanders Fearn was struck twice and made it about 40 feet down the sidewalk before he collapsed and died.
“You have gangbangers who want to show their ‘might’ and took an innocent life for no reason,” Filipiak said. “Anthony Fearn was a good kid. He had no gang connections at all.”
A Joliet West High School student, Fearn worked part time at Kohls and was an instructor at the SUDA Mixed Martial Arts Academy. Bush, who’d raised him since he was 6 years old, said her grandson drove his 13-year-old sisters to school or practices to help her out and regularly treated her to dinner.
Investigators feel Fearn’s lack of criminal connections were a reason rival gangs wouldn’t “go to bat for him right away.” But Chief Mike Trafton said Fearn’s slaying has been one of the most asked about cases over the last year, especially when officers talked to teen groups.
The case was never considered “cold” as Filipiak led a team of detectives that submitted more than 40 follow-up reports.
“It was frustrating, but you never quit working an investigation. We kept seeking out active witnesses and it seemed every rock we overturned we found another who identified Lesley as the shooter,” Filipiak said. “I talked to his grandmother every other week. You don’t want to give false hope but you can’t show your cards too much.”
Lesley is an admitted Gangster Disciple who is known as “Guru” on the street, police report. Filipiak said he has denied being involved in the shooting.
Joliet police did not expect to take Lesley into custody on the three-count murder warrant for several weeks. But even if the 19-year-old man could post 10 percent of the $2.5 million bond, he isn’t scheduled for parole from the Jacksonville Correctional Center until February.
Lesley’s 14-year-old brother, Deonte, was killed Jan. 3, 2011, when Vernon McCormick, 24, sprayed bullets into the window of his Lockport Township home. McCormick was sentenced to 85 years in prison for Deonte Lesley’s murder Wednesday.
Joliet police Cmdr. Brian Benton said the Fearn shooting and the slaying of Deonte Lesley were not related.
On Jan. 1, 2012, Joliet police arrested Lesley, 19, and Demetrius L. Moffett, 23, after they refused to pull over while driving a car that contained pot, ecstasy, a .38 special that had been reported stolen and another .38 pistol with the serial number filed off.
Lesley was sentenced to a year in prison on a charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
“I know (Lesley’s arrest) won’t bring Anthony back, but it gives closure,” Bush said. “It’s been hard. Ever since he was murdered I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep. Last night I did.”