Police: Shooter in double murder told friend, ‘You ain’t seen me’
BY JANET LUNDQUIST email@example.com September 25, 2013 6:42PM
Sjolante Q. Crowder / photo provided
Updated: October 28, 2013 7:21AM
James Hayden was at a friend’s house in Joliet about 7 p.m. last Oct. 23 when he heard two people had been shot on Second Avenue.
About the time he heard the news, Hayden said, his friend, Sjolante Crowder, came into the house and began pacing around and drinking water, according to police. Crowder was a little sweaty, Hayden said.
Crowder, 19, allegedly told Hayden, “The (expletive)’s gone, the (expletive)’s dead,” according to evidence presented Wednesday at Crowder’s murder trial in Will County.
Crowder is accused of killing DeLasse Lanier, 18, and Adrian Knox, 17, both of Joliet. Joliet police say Crowder was in a rival gang and shot and killed the teens on Second Avenue that day because they were in his gang’s territory.
A 19-year-old man also was shot but survived.
Wednesday on the witness stand, Hayden repeatedly said he did not remember talking to detectives about the case and that he did not remember the statements he made.
Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Slazyk read a statement from the police report of their interview with Hayden, where Hayden said Crowder told him, “If anyone asks for me, tell them you ain’t seen me.”
Hayden said he didn’t remember telling police that.
Later, Slazyk played a video recording of Hayden’s interview that included the statements.
About 6:45 p.m. Oct. 23, several people, including Anthony Stallings, who said he is Lanier’s brother, were gathered around a Jeep Cherokee parked in the 700 block of Second Avenue when they saw a vehicle drive slowly by them, according to court records.
They indicated that soon after the vehicle passed, a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt walked up and started shooting.
Stallings testified Wednesday that he saw the man first walk up to the corner and stop, standing still for about 10 seconds. Then the man walked to the middle of the street and stopped, he said.
“Like there was a car coming, but there wasn’t a car coming,” Stallings said, adding that the shooter watched the group “like he was trying to see who all was there.”
Stallings said he sensed danger and told Lanier and others they should leave. He crawled into the Jeep as the man walked up and pulled a gun out of the pocket of his sweatshirt.
As the group scattered, Knox collapsed in a driveway on the other side of the street, and Lanier ran inside a house on the block and collapsed, police said.
Stallings, who said he saw Crowder’s face and recognized him, got out of the Jeep and heard screaming coming from the house where Lanier had collapsed. He said he saw his mother holding Lanier on the floor, and his sister was screaming.
Lanier and Knox were taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, where Lanier was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 7:27 p.m. and Knox was pronounced dead 20 minutes later. The other 19-year-old man who was shot drove himself to Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Initially, Stallings said he told police he didn’t see what happened because he wanted to take revenge for Lanier’s death and shoot Crowder.
He testified that he later came forward and told police what he saw because “it was the right thing to do.”
Police arrested Crowder the day after the shooting in the 200 block of Richards Street. He is being held in the Will County jail in lieu of $7 million bail.
The trial is scheduled to continue Thursday.