For the past year and a half we've been keeping tabs on a news story that has bothered us to no end. Many of you might know this news story as the "Facebook-Live kidnapping". Others have referred to it as the "BlackLivesMatter kidnapping".
Whatever title you choose to give the story, the facts of the case are pretty cut and dry:
- A white male teenager with severe mental development issues was kidnapped and tortured by two black males, Jordan Hill and Tesfaye Cooper, in the suburbs of Chicago.
- The incident was live-streamed on Facebook by two black sisters, Brittany and Tanishia Covington, while they attackers made comments about white people and President Donald Trump
- Because of the race of the suspects and victims, combined with the anti-Republican and anti-white rhetoric they displayed in the video, this news story quickly became a national news story.
- The torturing went on for two or three days before the victim was finally released. During that time, Jordan Hill called the teen's family and demanded a $300 ransom.
That was early January 2017 - it was the first big national news story of the year. 20-year old Jordan Hill, along with Tesfaye (20); Tanishia (25); and her sister Brittany (20), were charged with aggravated kidnapping, a hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in the attack.
There victim was a teenage male who suffers from a laundry list of mental health issues. He’ll never live a normal life and, because of this, his obstacles in have been amplified immensely.
As time passed, the trial slowly moved on. The two sisters were both given a slap on the write (probation and time served).
On December 8, 2017, Brittany pleaded guilty to the charges of committing a hate crime, intimidation and aggravated battery. Additional charges, such as kidnapping, were dropped as part of her plea deal and she was sentenced to four years of probation and 200 hours of community service.
Cook County Circuit Judge William Hooks said that he could have sentenced her to prison, but did not because “I’m not sure if I did that you’d be coming out any better.”
On April 19, 2018, Tanishia plead guilty to the charges of committing a hate crime, intimidation and aggravated battery and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Many who have followed the trial were disappointed when they heard the news about the female suspects.
But now, after a year and a half, we've finally seen the light of justice at the end of a dark and morbid tunnel. Jordan Hill has been given an 8-year sentence for his role in the crime. On Thursday, the judge will decide if Tesfaye Cooper will get a similar fate. We'll keep you posted.
This news story has affected me in a very personal way - the victim's brother and I grew up in the same area and had many mutual childhood friends. On Thursday I'll also be conducting the first interview with the victim's family since news first broke about this story. They have a lot of information they've been patiently waiting to share with the world.