A Chicago couple managed to avoid serving any prison time after shooting their son in the head during an argument over a gun, in the latest example of the city’s broken criminal justice system offering sweetheart plea deals to even violent offenders.
Travis McCoy and Adriana Smith lied to police about what happened to their 1-year old son when McCoy showed up at a local hospital with the child in his arms. He claimed that his son had been shot by strangers driving by their home, but after police checked with neighbors and found that none of them had heard any gunfire, suspicion began to point towards the couple themselves.
Investigators soon located a bloody elevator in a high-rise residential building on the 800 block of West Eastwood. That led them to a 12th-floor apartment where officers found spent shell casings and blood spatter in the kitchen and living room.
Police eventually determined that the child was shot when the weapon fired as McCoy and Smith fought over it during an argument, a police spokesperson said.
Officials said the bullet ricocheted before it struck the boy, and it did not penetrate the child’s skull.
McCoy has now pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors dropped charges of filing a false police report.
His girlfriend, Adriana Smith, 29, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor attempted obstruction of justice, which was reduced from a felony charge.
Judge Daniel Gillespie sentenced Smith to two days time served. He sentenced McCoy to three years and gave him credit for 568 days spent in custody while the case was pending.
McCoy, who also received the state’s standard 50% sentence reduction for anticipated good behavior, did not spend any time in prison for the incident. He will be on parole until July 30, 2022.
Once again, kudos to the reporters at CWB Chicago for finding this story, which most of the city’s news outlets appear to have ignored. Actually, that’s not quite true. When McCoy and Smith were arrested, it actually made national news, but the slap on the wrist they’ve received as punishment has gone largely unacknowledged.
If Cook County prosecutor Kim Foxx had referred McCoy’s felon-in-possession case to the U.S. Attorney for prosecution, he would have been looking at 5-10 years in federal prison with the possibility of no early release. Instead, McCoy got off with time served, and will have to spend less than a year on parole.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown have their own culpability when it comes to Chicago’s rising homicide rate and the growing number of shootings, but the responsibility for Travis McCoy getting off with a slap on the wrist lies squarely with Kim Foxx and the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. Chicago politicians like Foxx talk all the time about the importance of “getting guns out of the wrong people’s hands”, but when her office had a change to prosecute a felon in illegal possession of a gun who nearly killed his own child through his reckless behavior, she chose to cut him a deal instead.
While convicted felons are getting off with a pat on the wrist, thousands of Chicagoans who are legally eligible to carry a gun are being denied their right to do so because of the months-long delays in processing concealed carry applications received on the part of the Illinois State Police. The State Attorney is allowing convicted felons like Travis McCoy to walk away with time served, while the State Police are forcing thousands of city residents (and tens of thousands of others across Illinois) to be defenseless or face their own felony conviction if they’re caught with a gun before they get their government-issued permission slip.
Sounds to me like the State isn’t keeping guns out of the wrong hands or ensuring that law-abiding residents can exercise their civil rights. It’s a big fail all around, yet I don’t expect the voters in Chicago will do a damn thing about it the next time get a chance.