Tuesday, April 30, 2019

3 charged with armed robbery in Loop, but new bond court judge gives 'em a sweet deal

Left to right: Goodwin, Olds, and Thomas are charged with robbing a man at the State-Lake CTA station. | CPD; Google
Whoa, Nelly! Arthur Willis, one of the newly-assigned judges on Cook County’s bond court bench, took a whack at setting bail recently and…WOW! He’s going to be something to watch.

In one of the first cases before Willis last week, three people were charged with Class X felony armed robbery after they allegedly held up and battered a man on a CTA train in the Loop. Class X is the second most serious level of crime in Illinois behind murder.

A 39-year-old man told police that two men, a woman, and a female juvenile robbed him on a train at the State-Lake station late last Tuesday. The victim said 26-year-old Alija Olds of the Gold Coast pointed a gun to his head and then to his stomach as Olds took valuables from the victim’s pockets. Two females and 19-year-old Nathaniel Goodwin who were with Olds battered the man and a 17-year-old boy who was also on the train, prosecutors said.

Police found Olds, Goodwin, 20-year-old De’Ovenonna Thomas, and the juvenile at a nearby convenience store where the victims subsequently identified them as the offenders, according to court records. The robbery victim suffered bruising and swelling of his head, face, and body, police said. The teen’s left arm was reportedly swollen.

Olds and Goodwin were charged with Class X felony armed robbery and two counts of battery. Thomas was charged with Class X felony armed robbery and one count of battery. Details of the juvenile's charges were not immediately available.

In court, Willis set bail for Thomas and Goodwin at $2,000, meaning that they can go free by paying a deposit bond of just $200. For a Class X felony allegation. Willis said the two will have to go on electronic monitoring when they post bail.

Olds was already free on bail awaiting trial for burglary to auto in Lincoln Park. Willis revoked that bail and set bail in the robbery at $5,000.

That’s quite a debut for Willis. We haven’t seen bails that low for Class X defendants since Judge Stephanie Miller repeatedly released Class X robbers on recognizance bonds. Thankfully, she stopped doing that after realizing that higher bails are appropriate in violent Class X cases. Let's hope Willis catches on before too many people get hurt.
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