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Teen gets maximum juvenile sentence for Endia Martin murder

Endia Martin was shot and killed in 2014. | Provided

A teenager who shot and killed 14-year-old Endia Martin four years ago received a maximum term in juvenile court, a sentence that could see her paroled on her first-degree murder conviction as soon as next spring, or kept in custody until she turns 21.

The girl, 14 at the time of the shooting, will turn 19 next week, having spent more than four years at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center awaiting trial. Her release date will be decided by officials in the State Department of Corrections. She pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder in January.

The girl, who is not being named because her case is being handled in juvenile court, had compiled an exemplary record since arriving in detention not long after the April 2014 shooting, according to a slate of character witnesses who testified during her sentencing hearing at the Cook County Juvenile Center.

Hearing the list of accomplishments seemed to pain Martin’s mother, Jonie Dukes, who left the courtroom in tears as the girl rose and began addressing Judge Stuart Katz. As Dukes passed, the girl paused, then handed her statement to her attorney to read.

“I want to go back to that space in time and make a different decision,” Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Tarzia said, reading from a sheet of notebook paper.

“Every goal I have, I think of Endia. She is a great inspiration to me.”

Katz reminded the teen that she had been given “a gift” when her prosecution remained in the juvenile system.

“Everything you do from this point forward, you should do to honor Endia,” Katz said.

Before handing down his sentence, Katz said he had been appalled by the facts of Martin’s murder, which had been preceded by several days of taunting between the shooter and one of Martin’s friends, Lanekia Reynolds. The classmates’ rivalry over a boy escalated to violence in April 2014, when the girl walked with a mob of some two dozen friends to a house in Back of the Yards where Martin and Reynolds were attending a party.

Also with the group were the girl’s aunt and uncle, Donnell Flora. Flora, who had been rendered quadriplegic by a 2010 gunshot wound, took a bus to the Back of the Yards to bring his niece the .38-caliber revolver that would become the murder weapon, and rolled in his wheelchair along with a caravan of some two dozen people who had marched with the girl to watch the fight. Flora was convicted of first-degree murder for providing the pistol, and last year was sentenced to 100 years in prison.

Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Howroyd noted that the teen had asked her uncle to bring a gun to the fight, and that the gun had jammed the first time she raised the gun to fire at Reynolds and Martin.

Her aunt, Vandetta Redwood, who allegedly cleared the jam and handed the gun back with the instruction “shoot that bitch,” was acquitted of gun charges in federal court last year.