4th man guilty in CTA Red Line electrocution
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org
The fourth man charged with beating and chasing another man on a Red Line subway platform from where he fell and was electrocuted pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday.
Thirty-two-year-old Clint Johnson’s plea came a day after his co-defendant Martell Johnson, 24, was sentenced to 21 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to murder in Daniel McKenzie’s death.
On Monday, two other men, Maurice Evans, 25, and Antwaun Thompson, 29, were convicted by two separate double juries before Cook County Judge Joseph Kazmierski.
The four men had gotten into a fight with McKenzie and his companions on the train, prosecutors alleged during the trials. But once they exited the car, Johnson and his friends aggressively pursued McKenzie, kicking and hitting him.
“They extinguished his life,” Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Lattanzio said in closing arguments. “They rushed him. They surrounded him, and they got him next to the railway.”
It didn’t matter if McKenzie, 43, slipped or was pushed, or even if the men never intended to kill him, prosecutors said.
McKenzie wouldn’t have fallen face down onto the third rail if he hadn’t been pursued by the hostile group at the Roosevelt and State stop in the early morning hours of July 27, 2008, they said.
Defense attorneys claimed that McKenzie, his brother Michael and their friend were the instigators of the fight on the northbound Red Line train. They also discredited a witness account that Evans was pestering McKenzie’s group by asking them what gang they were affiliated with.
Evans, in fact, was stabbed twice with a box cutter and all the men involved ended up taking off their belts in a “free for all,” Evans’ attorney, Robert Loeb, said.
“They [McKenzie’s group] were the aggressors. They were looking for a fight,” Thompson’s lawyer Lorne Gorelick added.
Prosecutors told jurors to focus on the aftermath of the fight, showing them the jarring surveillance video that captures the men beating McKenzie and his eventual tumble.