T.J. was released from prison in 2009, but his freedom didn’t last very long. In 2017, he was sentenced to prison again. T.J. was captured in a video driving a Mercedes convertible, blasting Ave Maria on the stereo, and shooting a man in the legs. Why would he do that? We begin our story outside the federal jail in downtown Chicago.
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Motive extra features
Get a look at the real-life people and places covered in this episode of “Motive.” Meet T.J., his mother Victoria and the family members, friends and lawyers who tell his story.
Jailhouse strip shows
In 2016, Maria Cardona lived near the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago. One evening, she witnessed a strip show happening on the top floor of a self-parking garage, and she videotaped it. Notice the lights on the jail flickering in appreciation.
Metropolitan Correctional Center
The view from the top of a self-parking garage across the street from the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The windows were spaced randomly to make the building blend in with the surrounding city.
T.J.’s black Lamborghini
A Lamborghini Murcielago Coupe was just one of the expensive cars T.J. bought after he won $25 million in his wrongful-conviction lawsuit. But T.J. wasn’t just buying flashy cars for himself. He shared them with kids — 15- and 16-year-olds he recruited from other gangs.
T.J. just before the shooting
T.J. and his friend pull up to Earl Casteel. With no provocation, T.J. shoots Earl in the legs. His friend caught the whole thing on his cellphone.
Who’s who in ‘Motive’
Meet the key players in this podcast, from T.J. and Vicky to Jon Loevy and Larry Tueffel.