In early January 2017 a mentally disabled teenager was kidnapped in a suburb of Chicago and held captive for three days by four individuals. During that frame of time he was tortured and, as the horrendous experience unfolded, his captors live-streamed the incident and mocked him on social media.
The kidnappers, Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington, & Tanisha Covington, told explained to the camera and the victim that they were doing this as retribution against white people for electing Donald Trump. The victim, however, didn't possess the mental faculty to be political or ideologically motivated.
Because of the attacker's racist rhetoric and suggesting they had a political motivation, the incident quickly became a national news story.
There was no logical reason for their hateful display of violence, but racial prejudice can bring the worst in people.
They held him hostage for better part of three days. Duct taped and tied up, he struggled for help with his face in a toilet while they put on cigarettes out on his flesh.
As if that wasn't enough to make your screen crawl, the ringleader of the posse, Jordan Hill, called the victim's family and demanded a $300 ransom for his release.
It was easy to catch and arrest them. Their crime had been boastfully displayed for all the world to see on the Internet, their own reckless decision.
They tried to delete it, but the Internet is forever.
On February 10, 2017, the four suspects pleaded not guilty. None of the defendants posted bail, since the charges were as high as $900,000 and well beyond what any of them could afford.
While the suspects sat in jail, the victim was still dealing with the aftermath of his experience. Having severe mental health issues, combined with his atrocious experience, rendered him nearly speechless for months. Basic day-to-day human functions and the process of communication with his family became extremely challenging.
That's when something incredible happened: thousands of people from around the country started sending the young man letters and greeting cards to express their love and sympathy for him. The cards and small gifts helped him to cope with reality.
As time passed, each of the four individuals received their ruling from the judge.
Brittany Covington eventually plead guilty on December 2017 to hate crime charges, as well as intimidation and aggravated battery. Her plea deal meant that some of the other charges would be dropped. Covington got a light slap on the wrist: four years of probation and 200 hours of community service. She was also told not to use social media, but allegedly broke that rule shortly after her release when software installed on her smart phone alerted the judge that she might be using Facebook. She was quickly arrested and sent back to jail, her lawyer said she needs to get a flip-phone.
A few months later, on April 19th, Tanishia Covington plead guilty to committing a hate crime, intimidation and aggravated battery. She was sentenced to three years in a concrete cell.
On July 5, Jordan Hill plead guilty to aggravated kidnapping and committing a hate crime. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
And now, here we are, eighteen months later, and the last of these monstrous heathens, Tesfaye Cooper, has plead guilty to aggravated kidnapping and hate crime. His punishment will be decided on July 20th. We'll let you know how this story ends.