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Man rejects plea deal in Facebook Live torture case

Brittany Covington, of Chicago; (clockwise from upper left) Tesfaye Cooper, of Chicago; Jordan Hill, of Carpentersville; and Tanishia Covington, of Chicago. | Chicago Police

Jordan Hill, one of four people charged in the 2017 Facebook Live torture case, rejected a plea deal from Cook County prosecutors Tuesday that would have sent him to prison for eight years.

Under the deal, Hill, 19, was to plead guilty to aggravated kidnapping and a hate crime.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s brief hearing Judge William Hooks asked Hill, “To be clear, the offer’s rejected?”

“Yes, sir,” Hill replied before being lead out of the courtroom.

Hill and the others were charged in the early 2017 attack on a mentally challenged man that was seen across the world after it was uploaded to Facebook. Police and prosecutors have previously said that the victim was a friend of Hill’s.

Tesfaye Cooper, 18, and sisters Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, all of Chicago, were also charged. Earlier this year, Brittany Covington pleaded guilty after spending 11 months in the Cook County Jail. She was sentenced to probation.

Hooks had previously noted that it may be difficult to empanel an impartial jury, given the case’s international exposure.

Hooks said he will want an extra-large jury pool of 200 to 300 people in hopes of finding people who haven’t made up their minds about a case about which millions of people have stated an opinion.

“The court remembers that the president of the United States, which at the time was Barack Obama, made mention of this case,” Hooks said, referring to Obama’s remark in a televised interview that the abuse on the video was “despicable.”