Two men convicted in a double murder when they were teens were re-sentenced in Cook County criminal court on Monday.
In 1997, Darnell Foxx was 15 and his cousin Javell Ivory was 17. They belonged to the Mafia Insane Vice Lords gang. One night, during a drive-by shooting, Foxx opened fire and killed two people: Joshua Thomas and Salada Smith. Two others were injured. Ivory was in the car with a gun, but did not shoot.
At the time, Foxx and Ivory were given mandatory life sentences. But since they were initially sentenced, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided sentencing juveniles to mandatory life sentences without parole was unconstitutional.
Now, Cook County Judge James Michael Obbish has resentenced the men. Foxx, the shooter, was sentenced to 73 years. Ivory, who was armed but didn’t shoot, was sentenced to 54 years. Both are eligible for time off for good behavior.
Obbish says he considered the environment the men grew up in and that their brains weren’t fully developed at the time. But Obbish also said that even as teenagers, they were responsible for their choices.
David Owens, Ivory’s attorney, said he was surprised the sentences were so high. Ivory and Foxx’s resentencing was the third to be done in Cook County since the Supreme Court ruling. Owens says the courts are still breaking new ground with these cases.
The families of the two murder victims, Joshua Thomas and Salada Smith, were present in court. Smith’s mother, Obrellia Smith, said she’d forgiven Foxx and Ivory. She said she believed the two were remorseful and that when they are released from prison, they could help steer youth in a better direction.
But Thomas’ mother, Christine Buckner, said she could not forgive the men. She said she comes from the same community as Foxx and Ivory, and she’s seen men like them. She thinks if they’re back on the streets, they’ll revert back to making bad choices. Buckner said she’d rather Foxx and Ivory remain in prison with a life sentence.