Man charged with killing of U of I student previously charged with murder in Lake County

Steven Davis was charged with murder in Lake County last year after he and several other Chicago teens traveled to the northern suburbs to commit burglaries.

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Be’Rasheet Mitchell

Be’Rasheet Mitchell was fatally shot in July.

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The man suspected in the July murder of a University of Illinois student on the Far South Side was one of five Chicago teens charged with murder after a burglary attempt turned fatal in the northern suburbs last year.

Cook County prosecutors allege 18-year-old Steven Davis fatally shot Be’Rasheet Mitchell, 21, in the 200 block of East 107th Street on July 16. Authorities say Mitchell was trying to defend his sister — Davis’ girlfriend — during a domestic incident when the shooting happened.

Mitchell, who was pursuing a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was shot once in the abdomen and died the next day at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. On his LinkedIn profile, he said his “passion in life” was “to invest myskills back into the community in order to improve quality of life for people struggling in my community as well asothers like it.”

Chicago police detectives arrested Davis in Galesburg about two weeks after Mitchell was killed. Davis was charged with murder and is being held without bail in the Cook County Jail.

Davis was charged with murder in another high-profile case in the northern suburbs last year, but those charges were reduced.

Steven_Davis_.jpg

Steven Davis

Chicago police

“It shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t have happened,” Mitchell’s father, Manuel Mitchell, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Now I just hope that he gets what he deserves. Knowing his past record and this, it just seems like people seem to slip through the holes in some cases like this, and I don’t want to see that happen.

“He needs to spend the rest of his days in jail, thinking about what he did.”

Davis was one of five Chicago teens charged with murder in Lake County in August 2019. Lake County police and prosecutors said at the time the group — originally six people —traveled to the northern suburbs from Chicago to commit burglaries.

The teens were trying to break into a car in Old Mill Creek when the vehicle’s owner came outside, police said at the time. Two of the teens approached the man, 75, before he fired at least three rounds from a revolver. The man had a valid FOID card and a concealed carry permit.

One of those bullets struck 14-year-old Jaquan Swopes in the head. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Libertyville a short time later. The other five teens then led police on a 40-mile chase through the northern suburbs and back into the city, where they were eventually arrested.

Using the state’s felony murder rule — a law that allows accomplices to be charged with murder in cases where someone dies while committing a felony —Lake County prosecutors initially charged Davis and the other four with first-degree murder.

“The teens were charged due to them being in commission of a forcible felony, when the 14-year-old victim was shot and subsequently died as a result of being shot during the commission of a burglary,” the Lake County Sheriff’s office said in a statement in August 2019.

The murder charges were dropped the next month. Four defendants, who were minors at the time, saw their cases transferred to juvenile court, where records are sealed from the public. It’s unknown how those cases were adjudicated. The fifth defendant, who was 18, saw her charges reduced to conspiracy to commit burglary and criminal trespass to a vehicle.

Davis’ attorney declined to comment on his past and current charges.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office said: “The juvenile justice system can never predict how every person will respond to treatment and can never guarantee that a person will not relapse into criminal activity.What we can do is evaluate the facts and circumstances that confront us at a particular moment in time, then use our best judgment to determine the most appropriate way to resolve individual cases.

“Many youth that enter our juvenile justice system successfully complete the requirements placed upon them and go on to become productive adults.That was our hope in this case.It is unfortunate this offender chose not to take advantage of the opportunity and, instead, allegedly chose to continue a destructive path,” the state’s attorney’s office said.

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