An 18-year old Chicago man is now facing murder charges for allegedly stabbing a Walgreens employee, just days after his electronic monitoring bracelet was removed by the Cook County court system. Sincere Williams was placed on electronic monitoring back in May after he was arrested for allegedly breaking into a gun store and stealing several firearms, but the monitoring device was apparently removed in late August.
Days later, Williams allegedly walked into the Walgreens in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood and grabbed 32-year old Olga Calderon, a mother of two who was stocking shelves at the drugstore.
Judge Arthur Wesley Willis ordered Williams held without bail after prosecutors detailed the case against him, including copious video evidence that shows him stab Calderon and then walk calmly home.
“He did not take anything in this case … (video) does show him walk straight to the victim and viciously attack her,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said in court. “I cannot give you a definitive motive here other than sometimes people just do evil things.”
Williams even had the forethought to wear two sets of clothing on his way to the Walgreens, then discard the outer layer on his way back, Murphy said.
Calderon was stabbed ten times and left for dead, while Williams is seen on surveillance footage a few moments later casually walking down the street with blood on his clothes.
Williams’ defense attorney claims that the 18-year old suffers from schizophrenia and seizures, and argued that he should be released on bond to return home to his mother. Thankfully, the judge overseeing the case disagreed and ordered the teen held without bond while he awaits trial.
Prosecutors say that Williams is also a suspect in an attempted robbery of that same Walgreens the week before Calderon was murdered, raising even more questions about why the teen had his electronic monitoring device removed by the court system.
One possibility: the Cook County Sheriff’s Office needed the electronic monitoring device for another offender. Back in May, Sheriff Tom Dart acknowledged that his office had run out of monitoring devices, and would be holding those with an electronic monitoring order in custody until their orders were revised.
Dart’s office said it has provided a list of every current electronic monitoring program participant to the offices of the state’s attorney, public defender and chief judge, asking them to review those cases to determine whether it’s appropriate to remove anyone from the program.
“I am calling on all stakeholders to develop a process for (1) ensuring that EM is being utilized only for defendants who require supervision in the interest of public safety and (2) removing individuals from EM after a period of successful supervision,” Dart wrote.
Was Williams one of those cases reviewed by the state’s attorney, public defender, and chief judge? Did they conclude that since Williams wasn’t (at that point) accused of any violent crimes that the public would be safe if his monitoring device was removed? If so, it was a mistake with fatal consequences.
All we know, according to the Chicago Tribune, is that the state’s attorney’s office “did not object to the Court’s release of this minor based on specific information presented to the Court.” Because Williams was a juvenile at the time, the Cook County prosecutors say they can’t get any more specific than that.
Obviously Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx doesn’t want to make a big deal out of the Sincere Williams case, especially since Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has already blamed Foxx’s office for not getting tough on violent criminals. Still, the public has a right to know why the young man had his electronic monitoring device removed, and Olga Calderon’s family shouldn’t have to fight to find out why their loved one’s accused killer was out on the streets unsupervised when he was facing serious criminal charges.