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Teen plays prep basketball game to honor slain twin brother

Johnson College Prep High School basketball player Demacio Bailey dedicated Monday night's game against Marist High School to his twin brother Demario, who was killed this past weekend during a robbery. | Ashlee Rezin / for Sun-Times Media

Twin brothers Demacio and Demario Bailey were inseparable to the point that Demario would even follow his basketball-playing brother to Johnson College Prep team practices.

That’s where they were headed over the weekend when Demario was shot to death under a South Side viaduct in a robbery gone wrong.

On Monday, Demacio returned to the court, playing to honor his brother while his mother made a passionate plea for senseless violence to stop.

“I said, ‘You gonna stay home,” said Delores Bailey when asked for her reaction to Demacio’s desire to play Monday. “He said, ‘Momma [Demario] would want me to play ball.’ He said, ‘I’m going to live for my brother.’”

But even before tipoff, his slain brother’s absence was felt. A solemn moment of silence was observed before the lanky center and the rest of the Johnson varsity squad squared off against Leyden High at the Marist High School gym.

On the eve of what would have been the brothers’ joint 16th birthday, Demacio scored four points during the 64-41 loss.

After the game, the team exited the locker room alongside the boys’ family. With Demacio in the lead, the players lined up single-file and marched to their bus chanting, “We will live, not die.”

When they were gone, Delores Bailey said she wants the public to understand that her sons were both good kids.

“My son did nothing but what I told him to do. I told him to stick with his brother,” she said. “Sometimes God takes one. But [he] left me one, and I thank him for that.”

Then she made an impassioned vow to help others avoid the same tragedy. A funeral for Demario, who family members have said was killed by four muggers who wanted his winter coat, is planned for Saturday, though arrangements are still being finalized.

“We need to stick together. Mothers get up and let’s live for our kids,” said Delores Bailey with tears streaming down her cheeks. “We don’t want to let them out because we scared because we know a day like this is coming.”

To avoid Demario’s fate, she called on parents to organize car pools for their kids.

“Let’s get [our kids] to where the need to be,” Delores Bailey said. “If you all don’t do it, I’m going to do it myself. I promise you, if I have to put them in my car … and drop them off and pick them up.”

“I don’t want nobody else — no other mother — to feel this,” she said while she exited the gym.

Earlier Monday, a 17-year-old boy was ordered held without bail after he was charged with killing the 15-year-old over his jacket in front of his twin brother.

Police, meanwhile, announced that three more teens had been charged with the murder of Demario Bailey.

In court, Cook County Criminal Court Judge James Brown ordered Carlos Johnson, 17, held without bail after a brief hearing at the George Leighton Criminal Courts Building Monday. The other three teens are expected to have bond hearings Tuesday.

Johnson is charged with the murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and attempted armed robbery. Prosecutors said, though, they do not believe at this time that Johnson pulled the trigger in the shooting.

As prosecutors outlined the case against him, Johnson’s mother and grandmother stood in the front row of the gallery but left without talking to reporters afterward.

Prosecutors say Johnson was involved in two armed robberies just minutes before the robbery that led to the murder of Demario Bailey Saturday afternoon. Both of the earlier robberies occurred in a viaduct in at 150 W. 63rd St., Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said in court.

In one of the earlier robberies, Johnson and another alleged thief stole a cell phone from a 17-year-old youth, Santini said. In the other robbery, a group of four to five people stole a cell phone, some cash and some earrings from a 33-year-old victim, Santini said.

After those robberies, Johnson and several others, who have not yet been charged, headed east into a viaduct at 20 W. 63rd St., Santini said. Twin brothers, Demario and Demacio Bailey, were also in the viaduct, heading to basketball practice at their school, Johnson College Prep.

“The offenders, while brandishing a loaded handgun, began to rifle through the victim’s pockets as they said, ‘Give it up,’” Santini said.

The Bailey brothers resisted Johnson and the other alleged robbers, and “a brief struggle ensued,” Santini said. “One of the offenders fired the loaded handgun at Demario Bailey, striking him in the chest just above his heart.”

Demacio Bailey ran after hearing the gunshot, Santini said.

“After reaching the end of the viaduct, the 15-year-old victim realized that his brother wasn’t with him and immediately returned to the viaduct,” Santini said. “He found his twin brother lying face up mortally wounded from a gunshot to the upper chest.”

At one point during Monday’s hearing, Judge Brown asked Santini if Johnson was the actual shooter.

“At this time, no,” Santini said.

And in arguing for bail, Johnson’s attorney, Mike Clancy, said prosecutors have no evidence that Johnson wielded a gun during any of the robberies.

“He was not the shooter in this case,” Clancy said.

Santini listed Johnson’s criminal history, all juvenile matters, including 2014 convictions for criminal trespass, possession of cannabis and theft. He’s also currently on probation for an unlawful use of a weapon conviction stemming from a 2013 charge, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors say CTA and other surveillance cameras show Johnson and the other alleged robbers entering the viaduct just before the murder and leaving it shortly after.