Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington, and Tanishia Covington were denied bail on Friday after allegedly beating an 18-year-old special needs man and broadcasting it on Facebook Live
The four suspects accused of allegedly kidnapping and torturing an 18-year-old mentally disabled young man for hours while broadcasting the attack on Facebook Live made their first court appearance in a Chicago courtroom on Friday — where they were refused the option to post bail or leave jail.
Jordan Hill, 18, Tesfaye Cooper, 18, Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, are facing multiple felony charges of kidnapping and battery, among other changes including two counts of committing a hate crime (one based on the victim’s mental disabilities and the other on his race), the Associated Press reported.
Cook County Circuit Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil called the group a danger to society on Friday after their “terrible actions,” the AP reported. Wondering how they could be charged with such cruelty towards the victim, she asked them, “where was your sense of decency?”
The attack was captured in a 30-minute Facebook Live video on Tuesday — allegedly taken by one of the female suspects. It depicts a white man tied up, his mouth covered, cowering in a corner of the room. His attackers are seen surrounding him, laughing and shouting “F— Donald Trump” and “f— white people,” as they kick and punch him, before cutting his forehead with a knife.
The four were taken into custody Wednesday after the video was uploaded to YouTube.
On Friday, prosecutors offered new details of the assault, the AP reported. One of the suspects had allegedly demanded $300 from the mother of the victim as a ransom. The suspects also allegedly forced the victim to drink toilet water and kiss the floor — before allegedly stuffed a sock into his mouth, taping it shut, and binding his hands with a belt.
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The victim, who is schizophrenic and has attention-deficit disorder, was first reported missing by his parents on Monday evening — the AP reported. He had met one of the alleged assailants, schoolmate Jordan Hill, at a suburban McDonald’s on New Years Eve. Later, the victim called his parents to say he would be staying with Hill for a sleepover.
Instead, Hill allegedly drove the victim around in a stolen van, the AP reported, eventually leading to the Covington’s Chicago home. Prosecutors told the court on Friday that the alleged beating started in a van after the mother of the victim called Hill and asked for her son to come home.
The victim was found wandering the streets late Tuesday afternoon, according to the Chicago Tribune. Police said they believe he may have been attacked at a home about a block from where he was found by police. He was detained for at least 24 hours and is “traumatized,” Area North Commander Kevin Duffin said.
“If you commit an act of violence in the city of Chicago, you will experience the full weight of the Chicago Police Department,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a press conference. “Tonight, four individuals have felt the consequences of their actions.”
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Defense attorneys argued the suspects were hardworking, responsible and religious, the AP reported.
All four have previously experienced brushes with the law — Hill and Tanishia with both arrests as juveniles.
Hill was arrested in 2015 on allegations of armed robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle and residential burglary, CBS News reported. Tanishia was arrested in 2007 on attempted armed robbery and aggravated battery charges.