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2014 murder of Demario Bailey lands trio long prison terms

Demario Bailey

Three men were handed lengthy prison sentences Thursday for the 2014 shooting that left 15-year-old Demario Bailey dead. | File photo

Three men were handed lengthy prison sentences Thursday for the 2014 shooting that left 15-year-old Demario Bailey dead.

Brothers Tarik and Deafro Brakes and co-defendant Carlos Johnson slumped in chairs beside their attorneys as Judge Timothy Joyce calculated their prison terms for Bailey’s murder and for a pair of armed robberies they committed beneath the same Englewood underpass minutes before Bailey was killed.

Tarik Brakes, the gunman, received a 45-year sentence; Deafro received a 31-year term; Johnson, 37 years. None of the three, each teenagers themselves when they encountered twin brothers Demario and Demacio Bailey as the pair walked to basketball practice, will leave prison before the age of their late 40s.

A fourth defendant, Isiah Penn, who acted as a lookout during the fatal robbery and testified for the prosecution, has yet to be sentenced.

Joyce noted that Demario Bailey and his brother had been good kids who had avoided trouble themselves, and that the three defendants had been under 18 at the time of the shooting. Joyce noted none of the three had any prior criminal record.

“We’ve got a loss that is beyond substantial, not only to (Bailey’s mother) and Demacio but, I suspect, to our society,” Joyce said.

Demacio testified during the three-day trial that Johnson and Deafro Brakes approached them as the twins walked on West 63rd Street under a viaduct near South State Street, and began rifling their pockets. When Demario resisted and broke away, coming to the defense of his brother, Tarik Brakes pulled a gun and fired, hitting Demario in the chest.

Demacio, who was not in court for the sentencing hearing Thursday, said that he tried to stanch the bleeding from his brother’s chest with his jacket, then watched as his brother died on the sidewalk despite the best efforts of rescue workers.

Delores Bailey talks to reporters at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Wednesday, after two juries convicted three defendants in the 2014 murder of her 15-year-old son, Demario Bailey, in a botched armed robbery underneath an Englewood viaduct. | Andy Grimm/Sun-Times

The twins’ mother, Delores Bailey wept on the witness stand as she described her lost son. Demario, she recalled, looked after his younger siblings, and often cooked for his mother after her long days at work. She recalled how she she didn’t know she was having twins until four months into her pregnancy; in the womb, he “hid” behind his twin brother. She named him Demario Savion Bailey, the middle name for “my hidden savior.”

After Demario was killed, Bailey used a van donated by Secretary of State Jesse to ferry neighborhood children to sports practices and activities, the better to keep them safe on the city streets. Demacio has gone on to graduate from high school with honors, and is playing basketball in college, she said. She wouldn’t let him attend the trial, except for the day he testified.

“I didn’t want him to have to keep reliving it,” she said. “I want him to have a chance to be a kid.”

In the courthouse lobby after the hearing Thursday, Delores Bailey declined to say whether she was happy with the sentences. “For a mother, justice will never be served. If they said life (sentences), they said beyond life,” she said. “It’s never going to bring him back. It’s just a little peace, to know his life was not just taken and nothing’s been done.”