Joliet man gets 85 years for slaying of 14-year-old boy

September 26

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man has been sentenced to 85 years in prison for spraying a Lockport Township house with bullets and killing a 14-year-old boy in 2011.

Vernon McCormick, 24, was found guilty at the conclusion of a jury trial in July of three counts of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Deont’e Lesley on Jan. 3, 2011. Lesley was inside his house playing video games when he was murdered.

Two other youths were wounded when McCormick opened fire on the house. The jury also found him guilty of two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm in connection with their injuries.

McCormick, a gang member with a long criminal history, fired on the house because he believed rival gang members who had killed his friend were inside. Deont’e Lesley, however, was a local athlete and was not invovled with street gangs. Evidence at the trial revealed that McCormick went to Deont’e Lesley’s house and opened fire when he saw people moving inside and after someone opened a window for air.

“Deont’e Lesley was an innocent young boy with a bright future who should have been safe in the comfort of his own house,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Instead, he was gunned down by a volatile gangbanger with absolutely no regard for human life. Vernon McCormick shot to kill when he repeatedly pulled the trigger outside that house with no concern whatsoever for how many people were inside. Today he was sent to prison to spend the rest of his life staring at the walls of his cell.”

Glasgow thanked Will County Sheriff’s Department detectives and his assistant state’s attorneys, Mike Knick, Steve Platek and Tom Slazyk, for their skillful work in investigating and prosecuting this dangerous individual.

Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas said: “I want to thank State’s Attorney Glasgow and his prosecution team as well as my detectives for their hard work in the successful investigation and prosecution of this defendant. This was a highly circumstantial case that involved a high level of cooperation and team work between the Sheriff’s Department and the State’s Attorney’s Office. Today’s sentence reflects our strong commitment to holding these gangbangers accountable for their violent and deadly acts.”