By J. Coyden Palmer
The third suspect in the grisly, calculated murder of nine-year-old Tyshawn Lee was denied bail by a Cook County judge May 18 after being captured over the weekend in downstate Danville. Kevin Edwards, 23, had been on the run since November when he and two other men are accused of luring Lee into an alley near 80th and Damen and shooting the child multiple times in the head, back and torso. Edwards was dressed in a gray Chicago Bears hoodie and pajama bottoms during the brief hearing. The crime he is accused of sent shockwaves across the nation as Lee’s father Pierre Stokes denied he knew anything about why someone would target his son.
“Murder charges have been filed against Kevin Edwards in the targeted execution of Tyshawn Lee. The case is now closed with the arrest of three offenders,” said Chicago Police Department Spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi.
Edwards now joins co-defendants Corey Morgan and Dwright Boone-Doty in Cook County Jail awaiting trial. The Chicago Crusader exclusively broke the news late last year with the motive behind Lee’s execution. An ongoing war between the Killa Wards and the Bang Bang Gang, along with a controversial beating done by Lee’s father, Stokes, which was caught on video and posted online, is what led to Lee’s murder, according to police and neighborhood sources. Morgan’s brother, Tracey Morgan was fatally shot, his mother shot and wounded when they were targeted in the 8200 block of Lafayette. Morgan, who was on parole at the time, had just left a gang call-in meeting, a tool used by local law enforcement to try and reduce violent crime. Corey Morgan had vowed revenge for the shootings that he believed Stoke’s Killa Ward’s was behind, according to police and prosecutors.
The Chicago Police Department’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit worked with the F.B.I. in an effort to try to obtain Edwards’ whereabouts. They also received a lot of tips from the community in the case. But in the end it was just dumb luck that led to Edwards’ capture on the evening of May 14. Captain Michael Hartshorn on the Vermilion County Sheriff’s Office said Edwards was a passenger in the backseat of a car stopped for a traffic violation.
“The suspect attempted to run away during the stop after giving the officer a false name,” Hartshorn said. “A police officer chased him down about a block away. He gave his real name while in custody, at which point officers discovered his warrant in Chicago.”
Residents of the Auburn/Gresham community are relieved knowing the final suspect has been caught, but they say the problems in their neighborhood still exist. They say a lack of good paying jobs, the fact there is no neighborhood high school and an overabundance of rental housing that includes a large number of Section 8 housing is what has led to the decline of their community in recent years.
“I’m happy they caught all of the people involved but the truth is there are 300 more like them here in this neighborhood,” said Joseph Randolph, who has lived in the community for over 25 years. “I’ve seen this place change for the worse and it seems as though our alderman doesn’t care and we know the mayor doesn’t. They killed some people last month right there in Foster Park while they were minding their own business.”
All of the suspects in Lee’s murder could get life in prison if convicted.