Teen charged in Joliet double homicide says he didn’t do it
BY JANET LUNDQUIST firstname.lastname@example.org October 25, 2012 4:35PM
Updated: November 27, 2012 10:55AM
The teenager accused of killing two Joliet teens seemed baffled about the charges he’s facing during his first court appearance Thursday.
Sjolante Q. Crowder, who turned 18 last month, interrupted Will County judge Marzell Richardson several times during his bond hearing to ask if he could speak.
“I do not want you to say one thing about the facts of these cases,” Richardson said, warning him that anything he says could be used against him as his case progresses.
“I didn’t do anything. I was not around,” said Crowder, who appeared in court on a video feed from the county jail. “I was just picked up and brought down here. I don’t know anything.”
Police believe Crowder purposely shot and killed 17-year-old Adrian Knox and 18-year-old Delasse Lanier Tuesday, and that he tried to kill a 19-year-old man who sustained a gunshot wound.
Joliet police said shortly before 7 p.m. that day, a group of 10 to 15 people were standing in front of a house in the 700 block of Second Avenue when a man in black clothing came up behind them and started shooting.
As the group scattered, Knox collapsed in a driveway on the other side of the street. Lanier ran inside a house on the block and collapsed.
Lanier and Knox were taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, where Lanier died in the emergency room at 7:27 p.m. and Knox died 20 minutes later.
The 19-year-old man who was shot drove himself to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Investigators believe the ambush may have been in retaliation for a fight between rival gangs that occurred earlier Tuesday that involved women associated with the groups.
Police arrested Crowder Wednesday morning in the 200 block of Richards Street. He faces two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Richardson kept Crowder’s bail at $7 million. Crowder’s sister, China Hill, told the judge her family was going to hire a lawyer to represent him. Richardson told her they should get a lawyer to meet with Crowder as soon as possible.
Outside the courtroom, Hill said she was on the phone with her brother when the shooting happened, though she said she didn’t know where he was at the time. She and a crowd of friends and family at the courthouse for his appearance said Crowder was innocent.
“Free my brother,” Hill said.
“He ain’t guilty until God says he guilty,” said Regina Crowder, the teen’s grandmother.
Crowder is due back in Will County court Nov. 16.