A South Side man whose street name was referred to in lyrics by several Chicago rappers was found guilty of the 2014 fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side.
A Cook County jury convicted 20-year-old Ahbir Sardin of first-degree murder Thursday night for the shooting death of Venzel Richardson, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
Sardin, 17 at the time of the murder, was known on the streets as “D.Rose” and was featured in lyrics by Chief Keef, Cdai and RondoNumbaNine, sources said at the time of his arrest.
Richardson and his friends had just left a convenience store near 61st and King Drive on the night of Feb. 12, 2014, and were walking south in the 6100 block of South Vernon when a white minivan pulled up alongside them, prosecutors said.
Sardin, allegedly a member of the Black Disciples, slid the driver’s-side passenger door open and fired a handgun at the group multiple times, prosecutors said.
Richardson, who lived in the 6400 block of South St. Lawrence, suffered four gunshot wounds, including one to the back of the head, prosecutors and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. He ran into a gangway, but collapsed, and was pronounced dead there at 8:25 p.m.
Police learned Sardin may have been involved in the shooting and witnesses identified him in a photo array, prosecutors said. Sardin was arrested about six weeks after the shooting, which police believe was gang related.
He faces up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 26.
Sardin was also falsely linked to the high-profile 2012 slaying of rapper Lil JoJo, whose real name was Joseph Coleman. He had been feuding with the Black Disciples along with rival rappers Lil Reese, Lil Durk and Chief Keef before the murder, the Chicago Sun-Times reported at the time.
A post on social media claimed Sardin killed Lil JoJo, but the owner of the Facebook page where it was posted later claimed his account had been hacked. Sardin was not charged in that case.
While Sardin was linked to the gang, Richardson was a participant in the Mikva Challenge, a program that encourages high school students to take part in the political process through elections, community problem solving and policy-making programs, according to its website.
Jelani McEwen-Torrence, Richardson’s mentor in the program, said at the time that the teen would walk his nephews home every day after school before returning to take part in the program, Homicide Watch Chicago reported at the time.
“These children live in extreme environments,” McEwen-Torrence said at the time of his death. “You can’t categorize them by who they may be affiliated with. I want him to be remembered in a holistic way. He was a caring and courteous person.”