A reputed gang member was found guilty of murder and attempted murder Wednesday for killing two teenage bystanders and wounding five others in a shooting at a crowded Englewood fast-food restaurant.
Regina Brown said “every dream was shattered” when she learned her 17-year-old son, Dantril Brown, was slain at the Church’s Chicken at 66th and Halsted.
But she said felt “blessed” knowing Arthur Chaney will not harm anyone else.
“I’m glad justice was served,” said Willa Mae Jackson — the mother of 16-year-old Jawan Ross, the other murder victim — upon hearing the jury’s verdicts after a little over two hours of deliberation.
Neither Brown, a student at Prosser Career Academy, nor Ross, a student at Robeson High School, were Chaney’s intended targets on Dec. 27, 2011.
But Chaney, a Gangster Disciple, was bent on shooting Black Disciples as he jumped out of a silver SUV and fired 15 times toward his rivals, Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher said in his closing arguments earlier Wednesday.
Kenny Lofton managed to escape unharmed and Terry Rush suffered a graze wound to his right hand during the violent fracas.
Assistant Public Defender Kathleen Moriarty suggested that Lofton and Rush were “pressured” by detectives to finger Chaney as the gunman.
“Their best potential witnesses knew ‘Little Art’ but they said that the shooter was unknown,” Moriarty said.
“They [police] knew who they wanted the witnesses to identify.”
During the four-day trial, Lofton said he initially denied knowing who shot at him but later identified Chaney after cops asked him who he had a beef with.
Lofton, a 24-year-old convicted felon, also said he was involved in a shootout with Chaney weeks before the Church’s Chicken murders.
Rush, who is behind bars for driving on a revoked license, said he was “pushed” to identified Chaney. But prosecutors pointed out that Rush also told the grand jury and another assistant state’s attorney that when he turned around and ran into Church’s Chicken for cover, he saw Chaney armed with a weapon.
Lofton and Rush clearly did not want to take the stand but they both identified Chaney just hours after the bullets were sprayed on the victims, Maher said on Wednesday.
Maher also said it was noteworthy that Chaney had gunshot residue on his jacket after his arrest and that he was seen on surveillance footage getting the SUV cleaned at a car wash an hour after the shootings.
Also damning was the phone calls Chaney, now 28, made to fellow Gangster Disciples, asking them to track down witnesses in order to influence his trial, Maher said.
Maher played the recording in which a man, allegedly one of Chaney’s friend, is heard saying, “We’ve got to look out for each other.”
“Innocent people don’t sic GDs on witnesses,” Maher said.
Outside court, Regina Brown, 38, said it was painful watching footage of the massacre as the trial unfolded in Judge Matthew Coghlan’s courtroom. “It was like watching them get killed again,” she said.
Regina Brown said her happy-go-lucky son enjoyed playing basketball.
Dantril Brown also was fond of fixing cars, cooking and music, and planned to attend college, his mother said.
Ross also loved basketball and had hopes of being drafted by the NBA, Jackson said.