CHICAGO — A federal jury has convicted three leaders of a Chicago street gang on federal racketeering charges for participating in a criminal organization that murdered rivals and violently protected its perceived territory on the city’s South Side.
Convicted of racketeering conspiracy were ROMEO BLACKMAN, 27, TERRANCE SMITH, 27, and JOLICIOUS TURMAN, 31, all of Chicago. Blackman and Smith were also convicted of multiple counts of violence in aid of racketeering. The jury returned its verdicts Wednesday after a seven-week trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Blackman and Smith each face mandatory sentences of life in federal prison, while Turman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years. U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey has not yet set sentencing dates.
A fourth defendant, NATHANIEL MCELROY, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge prior to trial. McElroy is awaiting sentencing.
The defendants were indicted in 2018 after a joint federal and state investigation of a Chicago street gang faction known as the Goonie Boss/Goonie Gang. The defendants and other Goonie members stole firearms to arm themselves, violently prevented witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement, and publicly boasted about gang activities on social media. The jury found that members of the gang were liable for six murders while terrorizing the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, specifically:
- Blackman and Smith were liable for the murder of Stanley Bobo, 18, on Oct. 23, 2014, in the 1400 block of West 72nd Street.
- Blackman and Smith were liable for the murder of Krystal Jackson, 25, on Nov. 19, 2014, in the 6800 block of South Loomis Boulevard.
- Blackman was liable for the murder of Andre Donner, 26, on Dec. 13, 2015, in the 7200 block of South May Street.
- Blackman was liable for the murder of Davon Horace, 19, on Jan. 25, 2016, in the 7200 block of South May Street.
- Blackman was liable for the murder of Gerald Sias, 38, on May 26, 2016, inside a barber shop in the 1100 block of West 63rd Street.
- Turman was liable for the murder of Kenneth Whittaker, 34, on July 1, 2016, near an elementary school in the 7400 block of South Morgan Street.
The jury also found that Smith was liable for two attempted murders.
The convictions were announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI, and Fred Waller, Interim Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Albert Berry III, Maureen McCurry, and Paige Nutini.
“Combating violent street gangs is a top priority in our office,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Pasqual. “We will use all lawful tools and resources at our disposal to dismantle those street gangs and disrupt the cycle of violence in Chicago and the surrounding areas.”
"Every Chicagoan deserves a safe place to live, and these convictions make it clear that serious crimes lead to serious consequences,” said FBI SAC Wheeler.
The investigation of the Goonie gang spanned several years and resulted in other charges against Blackman, McElroy, and numerous other alleged Goonie members or associates for various offenses, including:
- Blackman was charged along with RASHAD ANCHANDO, of Chicago, and KEITH GULLENS, of Streator, Ill., with stealing firearms from a licensed dealer in a smash-and-grab burglary. Anchando pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in federal prison, while Gullens pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four and a half years. Blackman pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
- McElroy and four others were indicted on federal firearms violations for scheming to “straw purchase” handguns in Michigan and re-sell them in Chicago. All five defendants pleaded guilty. One defendant is awaiting sentence, while the four others were sentenced to federal prison terms ranging from 16 months to seven years.
- CHRISTIAN SIVELS, of Chicago, is charged in state court with first-degree murder in the killing of David Easley on May 21, 2016. Easley, 26, was shot and killed while walking in the 7000 block of South Carpenter Street in Chicago. Sivels pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial in Cook County Criminal Court.
- TREVANTE REED, of Chicago, is charged in state court with first-degree murder in the killing of Gerald Sias on May 26, 2016. Sias was shot and killed while waiting inside a barbershop in the 1100 block of West 63rd Street in Chicago. Reed pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial in Cook County Criminal Court.
- JAVION BUSH, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the carjacking of an off-duty police officer on Oct. 18, 2018. Bush was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Upon his release from prison, Bush was charged with, and subsequently pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice by retaliating against a witness. Bush is currently awaiting sentencing in the obstruction case.
- Convicted felon JAVONTE N. STOKES, of Chicago, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of illegal firearm possession. Stokes was sentenced to six months in prison.