A former Cook County correctional officer was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison for a 2013 Hammond road-rage killing.
Edgar Novera Singleton Jr., 61, of Chicago, expressed remorse for his actions but never apologized to the family of Montrell Moss, 23, of East Chicago, for the shooting.
“The guilt that I feel is because I took a life, no matter if it was self-defense or not self-defense,” said Singleton, who told the hushed courtroom he had searched the scriptures and felt “even more” guilt after reading one of the 10 Commandments, thou shall not kill.
During his trial, jurors rejected defense attorney Philip King’s self-defense claim for Singleton, who testified that Moss was reaching for a gun on Aug. 8 when Singleton fired at Indianapolis Boulevard and Casino Center Drive. Jurors deliberated about two hours and 30 minutes on Feb. 21 before returning the guilty verdict.
Moss, who was unarmed, threw a fast-food cup at Singleton’s van because Singleton had cut off Moss twice in traffic. Evidence showed that Singleton was in the lane next to Moss before he backed up and fired. Moss’ car veered off through the intersection and crashed into a gas pump at the Luke Oil station, 1051 Indianapolis Blvd.
Deputy prosecutor Michael Woods acknowledged Singleton’s lack of prior convictions was a mitigating factor, but urged Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez to place little weight on it because of Singleton’s more than two decades of law enforcement experience with the Cook County sheriff’s department.
“More was expected from Edgar Singleton than this,” Woods argued. “He was given that power. He had a uniform and a badge because of that power.” Singleton was carrying a gun “because the community put that trust in him. He betrayed that trust in the most horrible way possible — by shooting a man over a Burger King cup, by shooting a man over road-rage,” Woods said.
Vasquez imposed a sentence below the 55-year starting point for murder, which is punishable by 45 to 65 years.
“It’s hard for me to wrap my head around this,” Vasquez said, noting that Singleton was carrying a badge and weapon for which he was “trained to know when to use it and when not to use it.”
After the hearing, Moss’ mother, Adrienne Moss, said: “It’s not enough years for all the tears I’ll shed for my boy. I’m satisfied he will spend the rest of his life in jail.”