January 11, 2008

16-year old pleads guilty in Leona’s murder

State attorneys announced that a 16-year-old male charged in connection to the 2006 killing of a local restaurant manager plead guilty to first-degree murder on November 27. Three other suspects face pending murder charges.

The teenager was sentenced to five years in juvenile prison for his part in the shooting of 26-year-old Corey Ebenezer. Ebenezer was a manager at Leona’s on 53rd Street and a father of two, according to a November 28 report in the Chicago Tribune. The names of minors are withheld from the press during criminal proceedings.

The teenager and two other suspects confronted Ebenezer at Leona’s around midnight on June 14, 2006, prosecutors said. Erika Ray, a relative of the teenager, allegedly encouraged them to confront Ebenezer after she was fired. Ray, Paris Goshaare, and Lorenzo Wilson will face murder charges in court on January 23.

After being sentenced, the teenager apologized to Ebenezer’s family. “It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. I didn’t go down there for that reason,” the boy was quoted as saying in the Tribune.

Police say that the attackers entered Leona’s through an unlocked back door and confronted Ebenezer as he was counting money, CBS News reported. One of the men pointed a gun at Ebenezer, and a struggle ensued. Ebenezer was then shot in the head and died at the hospital later that night. After shooting Ebenezer, the attackers took $1,700 from a cash register, the Tribune reported.

Wentworth-area Commander Pat Walsh said that police arrested the suspects after several people gave tips, according to CBS. During the summer, police tracked one of the male suspects to Miami, Florida, where local detectives took him into custody.

Before the boy was sentenced, Ebenezer’s fiancée Tiarra Williams read a statement about Ebenezer. “We planned to grow old together,” she said according to the Tribune report, “and you helped snuff all that out.”