Jury convicts gunman in Tyshawn Lee murder case

Dwright Boone-Doty was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder. A second jury hearing evidence against co-defendant, Corey Morgan, will resume deliberations Friday morning.

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Dwright Boone-Doty is found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 3

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/pool

Dwright Boone-Doty, the gunman who killed 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee four years ago, was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder.

Jurors needed just three hours to reach their verdict.

Charged with one of the most shocking murders in recent years, Boone-Doty faced damning evidence: His DNA was found on a basketball that lay just feet from Tyshawn’s body and inside an SUV used as the getaway vehicle, and a jailhouse informant also recorded Boone-Doty bragging about killing the fourth-grader.

Prosecutors said Boone-Doty targeted Tyshawn to avenge the murder a few weeks earlier of the brother of his co-defendant, Corey Morgan. Tyshawn’s father, Pierre Stokes, was purportedly a high-ranking member of the rival gang that was behind the shooting of Morgan’s brother.

Boone-Doty showed little reaction as the clerk read off the verdict. Seated in the courtroom gallery, four relatives of Tyshawn’s heaved and audible gasp.

A second jury hearing evidence against Morgan began deliberations about 2 p.m. and was sequestered for the night around 9 p.m.

Prosecutors conjured images of the final moments of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee’s life as they closed out their cases Thursday. On an unseasonably warm afternoon in November 2015, Boone-Doty, Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Waller said, lured Tyshawn from a South Side park into an alley, where he shot the boy multiple times.

“(Boone-Doty) preyed on the naiveté of a 9-year-old,” Waller told jurors. “He was able to lure Tyshawn out of the safety of that park ... he executed Tyshawn Lee.”

“(Tyshawn) saw it coming,” Waller said, recalling wounds to the boy’s hands that indicated he’d tried to cover his head as Boone-Doty opened fire. “The last thing he saw was this guy pulling out his gun and firing repeatedly, from close range, as he tried in vain to defend himself.”

In their summation, prosecutors’ case against Boone-Doty leaned hard on recordings of Boone-Doty bragging about the killing to a fellow jail inmate, in which Boone-Doty described the killing in graphic terms, often punctuating his tales with laughter and sound effects.

Boone-Doty’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Danita Ivory, argued her 5-foot, 9-inch, 150-pound client was merely trying to impress the informant, Demetrius Murray, a high-ranking Gangster Disciple who towered over Boone-Doty and outweighed him by more than 100 pounds.

“Justice does not mean convicting the wrong person,” she said. “Justice does not mean convicting someone who is 21 years old and finds themselves in the Cook County Jail ... surrounded by people the likes of Demetrius Murray.”

Boone-Doty still faces charges for the murder of 19-year-old Briana Jenkins in October 2015, just two weeks before Tyshawn’s murder. Jenkins had been seated in a car with an alleged member of the same gang to which Tyshawn’s father allegedly belonged.

Boone-Doty’s DNA also was identified — using computer software that had never before been used in a Cook County criminal case — on the basketball found next to Tyshawn’s body, as well as in the getaway vehicle, a stolen Ford Edge SUV that was linked to his former co-defendant, Kevin Edwards.

The SUV’s computer system held crucial evidence against both men: GPS data that traced a path from Morgan’s home in south suburban Lansing to Dawes Park the afternoon Tyshawn was killed, then back to Morgan’s house. A cellphone Morgan allegedly used tracked the same course, prosecutors argued, and showed that hours after the shooting, Morgan was allegedly scanning the Facebook pages of Tyshawn’s father and mother, and looking at news stories about the case.

Morgan’s brother, Anthony Morgan, had purchased a batch of pistols that included a .40-caliber pistol that killed Tyshawn through a straw buyer in New Mexico. Morgan was arrested days after the killing with another gun from that shipment.

The feud that claimed Morgan’s brother moved prosecutors to key in on him as a suspect early on, and tainted the investigation, attorney Todd Pugh said, saying that police treated the known gang member as a “throwaway person.”

“You know who was thrown away by this defendant and his compatriots?” Waller asked jurors during his rebuttal. “Whose 9-year-old body was left in the alley? Tyshawn Lee. His life was thrown away.”

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