Jurors deliberating fate of two men charged with 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee’s murder

Alleged gunman Dwright Boone-Doty and co-defendant Corey Morgan are charged in the 2015 murder of the 9-year-old boy.

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Dwright Boone-Doty appears during opening statements in his trial for the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee at the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.

Dwright Boone-Doty appears during opening statements in his trial for the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee at the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Pool

Just under four years after 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee was found dead in a South Side alley, the trial of two men charged with killing the fourth-grader is nearing its end.

Closing arguments for Dwright Boone-Doty and Corey Morgan started Thursday morning and jurors began deliberations hours after.

Over nearly three weeks of testimony, prosecutors have built a case that Tyshawn was targeted for death by members of a gang faction locked in an escalating feud with a gang led by Tyshawn’s father. Alleged gunman Boone-Doty lured the boy from Dawes Park into a nearby alley and shot Tyshawn multiple times. It was revenge for a shooting a few weeks earlier that killed the brother Morgan, and also left Morgan’s mother wounded.

Tyshawn’s killing shocked the city in the fall of 2015: Tyshawn was not an innocent caught in the crossfire, but was executed — and in apparent violation of the unwritten “code of the streets” that said children and innocent family members were off-limits in Chicago’s chronic gang violence.

Prosecution experts have testified that DNA evidence — uncovered thanks to computer software never before used by the Illinois State Police crime lab — identified Boone-Doty’s DNA inside the black Ford SUV seen at the park shortly before the shooting, as well as on a basketball found just a few feet from Tyshawn’s body.

Perhaps more damning, a jailhouse informant recorded Boone-Doty bragging about the killing while locked up on an unrelated gun charge. On the tapes, Boone-Doty laughs about the killing, and expresses no remorse.

“How I couldn’t sleep at night? Ain’t no age. Eight to 80,” Boone-Doty said in one conversation with the informant, a hulking gang leader named Demetrius Murray. “Eight days, 8 seconds in this world, to 80 years, it don’t make no difference.”

Boone-Doty’s defense lawyers have said the statements were boasts, intended to impress Murray and other inmates.

The murder weapon, a .40-caliber pistol, was not located until nearly two years after Tyshawn’s murder, and was eventually traced back to Morgan’s older brother, Anthony Morgan, who had purchased the gun through a straw buyer in New Mexico. Anthony Morgan pleaded guilty to federal gun charges for trafficking the weapon and several others, including another pistol that was found when Doty and Corey Morgan were arrested shortly after Tyshawn’s killing.

Prosecutors’ case against Morgan is more circumstantial. Police took GPS data from the navigation system of the SUV used as the getaway vehicle, a black Ford Edge reported stolen from a Midway Airport rental lot weeks before the murder. The data traced a route from Morgan’s home in south suburban Lansing to the area near Dawes Park around the time of the shooting. After the shooting, the data shows the vehicle returning to the Lansing house, then heading to a residential block in nearby Dolton, where it was recovered a few weeks later by police.

Alleged getaway driver Kevin Edwards pleaded guilty a few weeks before the start of the trial, and his sister, Moesha Walker, took the stand as a prosecution witness. Walker testified that she had seen her brother driving the black SUV, and that he was close friends with Morgan and Boone-Doty. After Morgan’s brother was killed, she said heard Morgan say that his brother’s death and the injuries suffered by his mother had made any target fair game for retaliation.

“[Morgan] said ... everybody must die. Grandmas, mamas, kids and all,” she testified.

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