Charges dismissed against aunt of girl accused of killing 14-year-old Endia Martin in Back of the Yards

By Michael Lansu
— Contributing: Emily Brosious
Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago

May 23, 2014

Mob action and obstruction of justice charges were dismissed Friday against the aunt of a 14-year-old girl accused of fatally shooting 14-year-old Endia Martin last month during a fight over a boy in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini argued that Vandetta Redwood initially told police she was at work when Endia was shot, but a cell phone video obtained by police put her at the scene.

Vandetta Redwood / Photo from Chicago Police Department
Vandetta Redwood / Photo from Chicago Police Department

The video shows a group of teens running down a street and gathering outside a house in the 900 block of West Garfield Boulevard. Endia then comes out of the house, and the group gathers around — some holding bottles.
When Endia gets into a fighting stance shots are fired from off camera and the group runs away.

An Area Central detective testified that Redwood instructed the group to “kick their ass” prior to the April 28 shooting.

Vandetta’s attorney, Mark Almanza, argued that his client could only been seen at the beginning of the video and not at the shooting scene. He also noted that the video had no audio and she could not be heard instigating.

Judge Donald Panarese Jr. called the video “choppy” and “poor,” then ruled the state did not meet the burden of proof and dismissed both charges against the 32-year-old Redwood.

“Vandetta got caught up in the state’s attorney’s attempt to come down hard on gun violence,” Almanza said outside the courtroom.

In addition to Redwood’s 14-year-old niece, four other people have been charged for their alleged roles in the shooting.

Floyd Evans, 43, of the 200 block of East Ohio Street, was charged with illegally buying the weapon without a valid Firearm Owners Identification card. He allegedly bought the gun last year from Robert James, 34, of the 1300 block of East Hyde Park Boulevard, who was charged with disorderly conduct and selling a firearm without a FOID card.

The gun was later obtained by Donnell Flora — the alleged shooter’s uncle — though police did not specify how the gun was transferred.

Flora, 25, of the 8300 block of South Buffalo Avenue, who uses a wheelchair since he was paralyzed in a shooting in 2010, took a bus to deliver the gun to his niece on Monday, prosecutors said.

A 17-year-old boy had also been charged in connection with the shooting for allegedly hiding the murder weapon, police said. He is charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, as well as two counts of felony unlawful use of a weapon and a misdemeanor reckless damage charge.

Redwood declined to comment after the hearing.

“I had faith this was going to be the ruling. … the state didn’t have enough evidence,” Almanza said.

 

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