Man gets 50 years for 2011 fatal shooting in University Park

SHARE Man gets 50 years for 2011 fatal shooting in University Park

Tommy Crockwell | Will County state’s attorney’s office

A man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for fatally shooting a man five years ago because he believed the man had robbed his brother.

Tommy Crockwell, 47, of Country Club Hills was found guilty of first-degree murder in November after a bench trial before Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak, according to the Will County state’s attorney’s office.

Crockwell hid in the bushes in a park in the south suburb, then crept up behind 19-year-old Johnny Rouse as he walked down a path on the evening of Oct. 26, 2011, according to prosecutors. Crockwell then shot Rouse once in the back of the neck.

Rouse, who died before his body hit the ground, was discovered by someone walking in the area later that night, prosecutors said.

Several months after the murder, police received information from an informant that Crockwell had told him he killed Rouse, prosecutors said. The informant, who had known Crockwell for years, wore a wire for investigators and visited him at his home in January 2012.

During a 33-minute recorded conversation that was played at the trial, Crockwell shared details of the shooting only the killer would know, like the manner in which the victim fell, that he was still wearing headphones connected to his MP3 player, and the type of gun he used, prosecutors said.

The informant asked Crockwell why he didn’t confront Rouse face-to-face, and Crockwell responded that he didn’t want to be identified if something went wrong and Rouse did not die.

Crockwell killed Rouse because he believed Rouse had robbed his younger brother, according to prosecutors.

Judge Bertani-Tomczak sentenced Crockwell to 50 years in prison Wednesday, according to the state’s attorney’s office. 

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