Two convicted in murder of 19-year-old Joliet man

September 4

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Thursday (Sept. 4, 2008) that two men involved in the 2006 shooting death of an unarmed Joliet man were convicted of first-degree murder. 

The shooter, Donald Motley, 28, faces a possible life sentence for gunning down 19-year-old Steven Jenkins on Feb. 11, 2006. Co-defendant Jerod Milian, 25, who supplied the gun, faces up to 75 years in prison. They are scheduled to be sentenced by Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes on Nov. 18.

Motley shot Jenkins five times in the back following an altercation at a raucous party.

“Donald Motley and Jerod Milian are gutless cowards who waited until Steven Jenkins’ back was turned before they opened fire on an unarmed man,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “They will spend many years staring at prison walls for their depraved act of senseless violence.”

Motley and Milian hosted the party at their residence at 206 N. Broadway in Joliet. A confrontation between Milian and a group of partygoers – all friends of Jenkins – led to an argument that escalated outside the house, according to testimony during the two-week trial.

At one point during the altercation, Jenkins fired a gun into the air in an effort to stop the fighting, according to witness testimony. During the ensuing scuffle, Milian was punched in the face. Milian was further enraged when Joliet police arrived to break up the fight and used pepper spray on him. 

After the police left, Milian and Motley conspired inside the house to take revenge on Jenkins, who had left the party without his gun.

Jenkins later returned to the house to retrieve his lost gun and to smooth things over with Milian and Motley. But while Jenkins was inside the house, Motley told a group of friends outside that he planned to shoot Jenkins in the back of the head. Milian, who was among those friends, gave Motley the gun that was used in the murder.

Jenkins exited the house and talked briefly with Milian and Motley before turning his back to leave. As he was walking away, Motley shot the unarmed Jenkins five times from behind at a distance of four feet. The first four bullets struck Jenkins in the right shoulder, the left wrist, the right elbow and the buttocks. The fatal shot struck him in the back, tearing through his spine, piercing his right lung and the lining of his heart, before exiting through his chest.

“In light of the fact that the police had just restored order at the house, it is hard to imagine a more blatant disregard for the rule of law,” Glasgow said. “These miscreants are the embodiment of an abandoned and malignant heart.”

As Jenkins lay on the ground, Milian kicked him in the stomach and told Motley he should shoot Jenkins one more time to make sure he was dead, according to trial testimony from witnesses.

Glasgow credited his assistant state’s attorneys – lead prosecutor Matt Guzman, Chris Messina, and Anna Rossi – for their expert trial work. The defense team for Motley and Milian included a former Cook County judge, a former federal prosecutor and the current president of the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

“These guilty verdicts are a testament to the experience, skill and training of these fine attorneys,” Glasgow said. “I am fortunate to have them on my roster of felony prosecutors.” 

Glasgow also praised Joliet Police for a top-notch investigation that brought two dangerous murderers to justice.