Two men will spend decades in prison for gunning down U.S. Rep. Danny Davis' grandson's four years ago.
In 2016, Tariq Harris,16, and Dijae Banks, 17, violently forced their way into Javon Wilson's home after a dispute over a pair of Air Jordan basketball shoes. The pair was convicted of first-degree murder in 2019 and each was sentenced to more than 30 years behind bars earlier this month.
“The two defendants, the witnesses, the victim in this case, teenagers. A teenager’s life has been taken away, Javon Wilson… for really no good reason,” Judge Ursula Walowski said before she handed down the sentences, according to media reports.
The 15-year-old Wilson was killed when he came to his sister’s, Khaliah, aid during the fight at their apartment. Though the gun was brought to the scene by Banks, Harris had fired the single and fatal shot when Javon refused to return the shoes that were meant to be exchanged for a pair of pants.
Prosecutors argued the killers held no irredeemable qualities, therefore, had no potential for rehabilitation. They requested the judge to sentence the teenagers above the maximum of 40 years — only allowed for perpetrators who were juveniles at the time of the crime.
Walowski rejected the prosecution’s request based on the evidence uncovered during the trial of abuse and trauma faced by both defendants. However, she sentenced Harris to an additional six years for the home invasion to run consecutively because of his role as the shooter.
According to Chicago Tribune, prosecutors read statements from Wilson’s family and school faculty members:
“I feel like somebody stabbed me in my heart over and over again. I will never forgive the people who took Javon’s life,” said Iiesha Murphy, the victim’s mother.
Christopher Gladfelter, a school counselor who worked with both Wilson and Banks, said on the stand as he wiped tears from his eyes:
“As a parent I can’t even imagine to begin to understand the loss that Ms. Murphy has. As an educator, though, I watched more students than I can count die long before their time. It steals youth from our children. We as a community have an opportunity to avoid losing another life when life is so precious.”
Davis, an ardent advocate for gun control in the nation and a longtime congressman (D-Ill.), also suffered another tragedy. His son, Stacey Wilson, 44, was found dead at his home in 2017, just several months after his grandson's death.
Stacey Wilson had diabetes, and there were no reports of foul play. Davis was not present in court when both defendants were sentenced for Wilson’s murder.