Trial to begin this month in murder of Congressman Danny Davis’ grandson

Prosecutors will be barred from mentioning that 15-year-old Javon Wilson is related to the 12-term West Side congressman, and Davis says he doesn’t plan to attend the trial.

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Congressman Danny Davis arrives at Carey Tercentenary AME Church for the wake and funeral of his grandson Javon Alexander Jordan Wilson on Nov. 26, 2016. Davis said he will not be in the gallery when the two teens charged with Wilson’s murder go to trial later this month.

Sun-Times Media

When two teens charged with the 2016 murder of U.S. Rep. Danny Davis’ grandson go to trial later this month, prosecutors will not be allowed to mention that the victim is related to the longtime West Side congressman, a judge ruled Thursday.

Lawyers for alleged gunman Tariq Harris and co-defendant Dijae Banks had argued that the congressman’s notoriety might bias jurors when the trial begins July 22. In a phone interview from Washington, D.C., Davis said jurors probably would not see him in the gallery during the trial.

Prosecutors say Davis’ grandson, 15-year-old Javon Wilson, was fatally shot by Harris inside the Englewood apartment Wilson shared with his family during an altercation that began as an argument over a pair of sneakers.

Davis, keeping with the tone of his public remarks made in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, said Thursday he is saddened by the senseless violence and the loss to his family, as well as to the families of Harris and Bank.

“I’ve been involved in trying to change the environment of violence for a long time. It was kind of tough happening so close to home, but I’ve been through it many times,” Davis said, recounting the many funerals of young residents of the 7th District that he has attended during 12 terms in Congress and nearly two decades serving as either 29th Ward alderman and as a Cook County commissioner.

Prosecutors say Banks and Harris went to Wilson’s apartment in the 5600 block of South Princeton the evening of Nov. 18, 2016, to demand the return of a pair of shoes that Banks, then 16, had traded Wilson’s younger brother for a pair of pants. An argument broke out when the brother insisted on getting the pants back first, a dispute that escalated when Banks and Harris forced their way into the apartment and Banks drew a gun and threatened Wilson’s 16-year-old sister.

Banks handed the gun to Harris, who was then 17, and the two girls got into a fistfight. Banks slugged Wilson in the head when he tried to intervene. Wilson hit her back, and Banks shouted at Harris, who fired a single shot that hit Wilson in the neck. He died at the scene, police said.

Davis, who has not attended any of the hearings in the case over the nearly three years since Banks and Harris turned themselves in to police, said he expected his son and other members of the family would attend the trial.

The congressman recalled his son asking him how he could take such a philosophical tone in his grief about Wilson’s death, and express sympathy for Banks and Harris.

“My son asked me, ‘Is that really the way you feel?’” Davis said. “And when I said, ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘All I can tell you is, you are a better man than I.’”

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