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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Matthew Hendrickson

Man charged in fatal Oakland neighborhood shooting texted ‘code word’ when job was done: prosecutors

The Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California. (Andy Grimm/Sun-Times)

A man charged with gunning down a youth football coach last spring texted a “code word” to a still unknown person who was involved in setting up the murder, Cook County prosecutors said in court Friday.

Prosecutors didn’t say why 34-year-old Jermone Baker was apparently targeted in the shooting, but said the alleged gunman, Darius Jackson, had been communicating with another person on social media about the attack.

That person told Jackson, 33, the time the murder should take place and Baker’s address, prosecutors said. The person allegedly told Jackson to message them “goodmorning” after the shooting to confirm it was done.

Witnesses heard gunshots about 6:30 a.m. on May 11 last year and saw a person dressed in black getting into a red Dodge Charger in the 700 block of East 38th Place of the Oakland neighborhood, prosecutors said.

A network of license plate readers and cameras were used to track the getaway car around the time of the shooting, and police later learned it was registered to Jackson, prosecutors said.

An officer on patrol spotted the car the next day and pulled it over for a traffic stop. The car took off when the officer approached, but not before the officer saw Jackson behind the wheel, prosecutors said.

A police helicopter followed the car, which was seen pulling into a vacant lot as the driver dropped something out the window. Prosecutors said investigators found a .45-caliber handgun in the lot that matched all 14 shell casings collected from the scene of the shooting.

Hammond police officers were alerted May 22 when the Charger crossed the Skyway into Indiana and pursed the car to a parking lot, where Jackson was seen standing near the car before running away, prosecutors said. Jackson’s birth certificate, a cell phone bill and two cell phones were allegedly found inside.

A search warrant was executed on the cell phones and authorities found the incriminating messages, including one sent immediately after the shooting that read “goodmorning,” prosecutors said.

Jackson was taken into custody Wednesday on a warrant charging him with first-degree murder.

Jackson has previous convictions for robbery and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, prosecutors said. He was also on bond for a pending aggravated battery to a police officer charge at the time of the shooting.

Jackson runs his own shipping business, his defense attorney said,

None of the alleged witness to the shooting identified Jackson as the gunman, according to the attorney, who said his client’s Charger was “a very common vehicle.”

Judge Barbara Dawkins ordered Jackson held without bail, citing the “overwhelming layers of circumstantial evidence” that tied Jackson to Baker’s killing.

The judge also revoked Jackson’s bail in his pending case.

He was due back in court Tuesday on the violation of bail charge, and his next court date was set for Aug. 9 in the murder case.

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