CHICAGO (CBS) — An 18-year-old woman who admitted to killing a fellow teenager over a feud on social media in 2014 will face sentencing on Wednesday.
The teenager, whose name isn’t being released because she was charged as a juvenile, pleaded guilty in January to first-degree murder in the death of Endia Martin and attempted murder in the shooting of Endia’s best friend, Lanekia Reynolds. Endia and her killer both were 14 years old at the time.
The defendant, who turns 19 next week, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 5 years in custody. Given credit for the four years she already has been held, she would be eligible for parole in April 2019. Even if sentenced to more than 5 years, she cannot be held later than her 21st birthday.
The shooting stemmed from a fight over a boy at school. The feud between Lanekia and the shooter escalated on Facebook, and the two planned to fight after school on April 28, 2014.
The defendant’s uncle, Donnell Flora, who was paralyzed when he was shot in 2014, went with her when he learned she planned to fight Lanekia. He gave the gun to his niece, and told her to give it to her cousin, Vandetta Redwood. She did, but federal prosecutors said in the middle of a melee in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, Redwood handed the .38 special revolver back to her 14-year-old cousin and told her “shoot that bitch.”
Prosecutors said the girl obeyed, killing Endia and wounding Lanekia.
Flora was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder for his role in the shooting. He was sentenced to 100 years in prison.
“There are no excuses or rationalization for giving a child a gun to take to a ridiculous fight about a boy,” Judge Thaddeus Wilson told Flora when he sentenced him in January. “Children in this city are dying by the hundreds because adults fail to and/or refuse to be adults.”
During a recent phone interview from his prison in southern Illinois, Flora didn’t make excuses for introducing a gun to a dispute between young girls. Choosing his words carefully so as not to endanger his appeal, he tried to explain his rationale.
“You have kids 12, 13, 14 with guns,” he said. “It wasn’t no grown-up who shot me, it was a kid.”
Joel Brodsky, an attorney who represented Flora during his trial, said Flora just wanted to have a gun at the scene for his niece’s protection.
“He really cared for his niece, didn’t want any harm to come to her. … And his testimony was he wanted the gun to be present in case somebody came at her with deadly force,” Brodsky said.
Roy, the police commander who oversaw the investigation, isn’t buying it.
“Here’s a guy who’s a paraplegic, his life has already been destroyed by gun violence, and what’s he doing?” Roy asked. “He’s encouraging gun violence that went to the next step: murder.”
While Redwood escaped criminal charges in Endia’s death, and was acquitted of federal charges accusing her of supplying the gun used in the shooting.