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Chicago City Wire

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Should Illinoisans be more worried about Rod Blagojevich, or A.J. Bibbs?


By LocalLabs News Service | May 1, 2017

A.J. Bibbs has been convicted of 14 felonies-- including murder and armed robbery. He served 14 years in state prison-- the same term Governor Rod Blagojevich will serve. | IDOC

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich learned earlier this month that, barring a surprise clemency, he’ll be in a federal prison until 2024.

A.J. Bibbs? He’ll be eligible for parole on May 21, 2021, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).

Blagojevich, 60, tried to trade Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat for political favors. 

Bibbs, 41, of Calumet City, has been charged with fourteen felonies over the past two decades. He has his hand in a murder, several attempted murders and more.  

The former governor’s plight is widely known.

 Bibbs and dozens of repeat violent criminals like him, are virtual unknowns. 

What they have in common is their punishment: 14 years served behind bars.

Still more time to menace society

The last time A.J. Bibbs served prison time, he was given a 50-year sentence. He served only 14. 

At age 21, Bibbs broke into an Oak Forest apartment and shot one of its residents after robbing him. Then, while in Cook Cook County jail awaiting trial and sentencing, he fatally stabbed a fellow inmate with a knife.

Admitted to Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg in Nov. 1995, Bibbs was released in June 2009, at age 35. 

A year after his release, he was arrested again, for starting a “shootout” after he tried to rob a grocery store in south suburban Dolton.

Alas, Bibbs, who is registered to vote in Calumet City and, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE), cast a ballot in the 2012 general election, started the second state prison term of his adult life in February. 

His sentence this time: 35 years. IDOC projects he’ll serve seven.

Murderers, rapists, child molesters

In light of Blagojevich’s firm 14-year sentence, Local Government Information Services (LGIS), which publishes Chicago City Wire, examined IDOC inmate records to see what types of crimes merit 14 years in state prison these days.

LGIS found that in 2016 alone, IDOC released back into the public 37 criminals from state prisons who had, like Bibbs, served between 13 and 14 years in state prison-- the same term that Blagojevich will.

The group includes cop killers, child torturers, chronic thieves and worse. Most served a fraction of their original sentences; some have already been arrested for the same crime and are en route back to state prison.

Among them:

Terry Stockley of Maywood, released Sept. 12, 2016, was sentenced to 30 years for aggravated battery of a child and heinous battery. She was charged in 2001 with torturing her female partner’s 11-month-old daughter; the baby had “burns covering her torso and genitalia, two broken arms, several broken ribs, and a broken leg,” according to a Chicago Tribune report.

Released Aug. 16, 2016, Tajuan Murray of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood was 27 and dealing drugs out of his walk-up apartment when he fatally shot Chicago Police Officer Dell Fountain, who lived downstairs. He received 44 years in state prison, but served less than one-third of the sentence.

Michael Pruitt of downstate Hoopeston, near Champaign, was released Aug. 24, 2016 after serving less than a quarter of his 59 year sentence for robbery and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of three minors. He was arrested in Vermilion County last week, eight months after his release, and charged with sexual abuse of an 11 year old child.

Antonio L. Harris of Decatur was sentenced to 22 years in state prison for robbing a gas station. He was out on parole in 2015 when a woman accused him of beating, then trying to suffocate her; he was charged with felony aggravated battery. Harris was released from prison for good on July 27, 2016. The Shelby County Sheriff arrested him on Feb. 13 for driving 97 in a 55 mph zone.

Former Old Town nursing home janitor Luis Sanisaka was 20 when he snuck into the room of a 42-year-old mentally-disabled woman and sexually assaulted her. He was released July 17. 2016.

Released last May 4, Sherry L. Smith was convicted of aggravated battery of a child for beating her stepson, Kyle. He died and Smith was also charged and convicted of murder, given a life sentence. Her murder conviction was overturned but the battery charge was not.

Joseph Derbas of Bolingbrook, released Mar. 30, was a 23 year-old DuPage County cocaine dealer in 2000, sent to prison for 15 years for attempted murder after planning to kill an undercover police officer. While out on parole in 2014, he was arrested for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

Who serves 14 years in state prison?

LGIS examined the 37 convicted criminals released from state prisons in 2016 who served between 13 and 14 years behind bars.

NameReleasedCrimes include
Terry Stockley9/12/2016Aggravated battery of a child; Heinous battery
Alfredo Diaz9/6/2016Attempted murder; Drug possession
Michael Pruitt8/24/16Aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child; Robbery
Tajuan Murray8/16/16Murder; Drug dealing.
Larry D. Johnson8/14/16Residential burglary; Robbery; Escape from Prison
Dushon Crosby8/9/16Residential burglary; Drug dealing.
Timmie Moore8/8/16Aggravated battery; Burglary.
Shawn Washington7/28/16Residential burglary.
Antonio L. Harris7/27/16Armed robbery
Richard Welch7/20/16Armed robbery; Residential burglary
Luis Sanisaka7/16/16Aggravated criminal sexual assault of a handicapped person.
Isaac Jackson7/13/16Armed robbery; Drug dealing; Theft.
Steven D. Yates7/7/16Residential burglary; Escape from prison; Forgery.
Lonell President7/2/16Attempted robbery; drug possession.
Victor Shenault6/28/16Armed robbery; Aggravated battery; Drug dealing.
Phelixis Robinson6/25/16Attempted murder; Drug dealing.
Ronald L. Rhodes6/17/16Criminal sexual assault of a family member.
Eddie Willis6/11/16Burglary; Arson.
William Stewart6/9/16Aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Kentrell Culbreadth6/5/16Murder; Aggravated battery.
Robert L. Boughton5/26/16Criminal sexual assault of a family member.
Eric Brandon Beale5/25/16Aggravated battery with a firearm in a public place
Leslie Wilburn5/13/16Armed Robbery
Sherry L. Smith5/4/16Murder; Aggravated battery of a child.
Tracy Jackson4/27/16Drug dealing; Armed habitual criminal.
Alvin E. Vernon4/22/16Aggravated criminal sexual assault/bodily harm; Burglary.
Terrence Carter4/22/16Armed robbery; Armed robbery of a handicapped or senior person.
James D. McClain4/1/16Drug dealing; Armed violence;
Joseph Derbas3/30/16Attempted murder
Vernon J. Jones3/27/16Reckless homicide with alcohol/drugs; Drug dealing.
George Ivin3/26/16Aggravated robbery; possession of a weapon in prison; drug dealing.
Michael Zarley3/16/16Aggravated criminal sexual assault; Auto theft; Residential burglary.
David E. Mathes3/14/16Burglary; drug dealing.
Engene Williams3/9/16Attempted armed robbery; Residential burglary.
Anthony Boone1/21/16Aggravated battery of a child.
Victor Cervantes1/17/16Drug dealing.
Karamjeet Saini1/12/16Aggravated battery with a firearm.

Source: Illinois Department of Corrections. Crimes include some, but not all charges upon which one was convicted.

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Organizations in this Story

Chicago Police Department Chicago Tribune Illinois Department of Corrections Illinois State Board of Elections Local Government Information Services

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