State’s Attorney offering to relocate witnesses targeted in a murder-for-hire plot
BY MARY MITCHELL firstname.lastname@example.org September 25, 2012 7:10PM
Darryl Jackson, holding a picture of his son, Deantionio Goss, who was killed in 2010. Tuesday, September 25, 2012. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: October 27, 2012 6:23AM
The Cook County state’s attorney will offer to relocate the witnesses targeted in a murder-for-hire plot by the young man accused of fatally shooting Bowen student DeAntonio Goss in 2010.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported last Sunday that Pharaoh Morris allegedly told an undercover investigator, who posed as a hitman, he wanted the witnesses killed after they testified to the grand jury.
Darryl Jackson, a community activist and the slain teen’s father, is grateful the plot was foiled. But he is disappointed that no one contacted him or his family before the murderous scheme was made public.
“I am grateful and thankful to the sheriff’s department for getting on top of this situation,” Jackson said during an interview at his home Tuesday. “But I don’t think they should be broadcasting it in the media. I heard about this secondhand from the media, and that is blindsiding me and my family.
“When you have the number of people that came forward in my son’s case and to put it out there like that, it makes people feel they don’t want to be involved in this. That’s when people say: “Forget them. I am not saying anything.”
A spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart defended how the sheriff’s department handled the matter and said “proper notifications” were made to the individuals involved.
“I’m not sure why the father thought he should be called. Morris was in bond court on these charges. This is a matter of public record,” said Frank Bilecki, a spokesman for Dart.
Morris, who has been behind bars since his arrest for Goss’ murder, is being charged with one count of solicitation for murder and one count of murder for hire.
Apparently four witnesses were targeted.
“The State’s Attorney’s Office is going to meet with those witnesses and offer them what they need to address their concerns and offer them any assistance that we can provide for them,” said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney.
“All options are open, including possible relocation. We do the best we can with limited resources, but this doesn’t help,” Daly added, referring to the publicity surrounding the murder-for-hire scheme.
Ironically, Jackson had found it in his heart to forgive Morris even though the wheels of justice are moving slowly in this case.
Earlier this year when an assistant state’s attorney broached the subject of how much time Morris, who is being tried as an adult, should get, Jackson did a remarkable thing.
“My response to them was that I am not sure if this was premeditated. I was not sure if he really wanted to kill my son. I said if he got the minimum of 10-15 years, that would be OK as long as he was able to get some counseling and be able to rebuild behind this. I didn’t want another black kid’s life destroyed,” Jackson said. “No amount of time that this kid gets is going to bring my son back.”
But Morris declined to take a deal that would have put him behind bars for 20 years, Jackson told me.
“So now that I am getting this information, I know this young man is a little menace, a menace to society,” Jackson said.
“I am disheartened by the whole situation. Period.”
Goss was 16 and a sophomore at Bowen High School when he was killed on the second day of school about a block from his home.
“My son got killed helping his friend. He went back to get this kid, who had been shot, and ended up saving the boy’s life and losing his own.
“To be honest with you, I am grateful that they were able to curtail this plot. At the same time, you are still jeopardizing people’s lives,” Jackson said.
“We are trying to get people to say, ‘I saw this.’ But they don’t want to be in fear of their lives. This should have been handled better because threats jeopardize witnesses and their families. We have to give them reassurances that they have confidentiality. They don’t want to be put on blast like that.”