Joliet man gets 34 years in 1997 shooting death

February 29

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Friday that a Joliet man has been sentenced to 34 years in prison for the 1997 shooting death of another man in Joliet.

Derrick Wheeler, 31, was found guilty of first-degree murder in November. He was sentenced by Associate Judge Robert Livas.

Wheeler gunned down Monte Love, shooting him in the back of the head once and then two more times after he hit the ground. The shooting occurred on June 18, 1997 near Duncan and River streets under Interstate 80 in Joliet. 

Testimony during the trial revealed that Wheeler and Love had been involved in selling phony cocaine together. A bag of fake rock cocaine was found on the victim’s chest.

The man who drove Wheeler and Love to the location under the highway testified that he was in the car when Wheeler shot the victim. He heard the shots and saw Wheeler with a gun, according to testimony during the four-day trial.

A neighbor also testified that she saw the shooting from a distance but that she could not identify the shooter.

“This was a cowardly act of violence by a lowlife drug dealer who showed no mercy in gunning down a defenseless man in cold blood. This execution-style slaying shows he is devoid of any empathy for human suffering,” Glasgow said. “The credit for taking this treacherous and brutal criminal off our streets goes out to the Joliet Police Department for its dogged investigation and the skillful trial work by my two assistant state’s attorneys who prosecuted this case, Kathy Patton and Chris Regis.