Demario and Demacio Bailey were the third and fourth victims targeted within a matter of minutes by a quartet of teenage muggers lurking under a viaduct at 63rd Street, waiting for pedestrians to wander into the shadows, prosecutors said Friday.
The lanky, 15-year-old twins were only slightly younger than the four men charged with trying to mug them in 2014, a crime that escalated to murder when one of them pulled a gun as Demario resisted and tried to help his brother. Taking the stand Friday in the trial of three of their attackers, Demacio testified that he watched his brother die beneath the Englewood overpass.
“He was still moving around. … You could see that it was hurting him,” Demacio said on the witness stand in the trial of the men charged in the robbery and killing.
Answering Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Clark’s questions in a soft monotone, Demacio recalled how he had bolted into the street at the sound of the gunshot, and saw their attackers running behind him. Then he ran back to find his brother.
“I started looking to see where he was hurt,” he said, as his mother slumped over in her seat in the courtroom gallery. “I took off my jacket because I thought it was going to be bleeding but it wasn’t bleeding that much, so I just put pressure on it.”
Moments later, he would watch from a distance as paramedics tried, unsuccessfully, to revive his brother. Tarik Brakes, 17 at the time of the shooting, is charged as the gunman. His younger brother, Deafro Brakes, as well as Carlos Johnson, are charged in the attempted robbery. A fourth co-defendant, Isiah Penn, is set to testify for the prosecution as part of a plea deal. The trial, in front of Judge Timothy Joyce, is expected to last through Wednesday.
The twin brothers were so close that Demario rode the bus with his brother to basketball practice that day in 2014, even though Demario wasn’t on the team.
As they walked the final few blocks to Johnson College Prep charter school, 6350 S. Stewart, the 15-year-olds walked beneath the viaduct over 63rd Street between State Street and Wentworth Avenue, where, Clark said, the four other teens had held up two other passersby only moments earlier.
“They were about to cross paths with another set of brothers,” Clark said in his opening statement. “These twins had no idea that when the two of them walked under that viaduct, only one was going to walk out.”
The Brakes brothers, Johnson and Penn were identified by earlier victims, and surveillance cameras scattered around the neighborhood show them walking together and fleeing the viaduct after the shooting, Clark said.
But defense lawyers for the three defendants all noted there is little physical evidence tying the three defendants to the shooting, and that Demacio identified other men as the attackers before he picked the Brakes brothers, Johnson and Penn out of police lineups and photo arrays.
“How does the state try to ignore that?” Tarik Brakes’ attorney, Frank Cece, asked jurors during his opening remarks. “There is more to this case than meets the eye.”