Charges dropped against 1 teen in beating death

Daley, Fenger parents meet with CPS
October 19, 2009 8:49:02 PM PDT
First-degree murder charges were dropped against one of four teens charged in connection to the beating death of a high school honor student.Eugene Bailey, 18, was released from custody on Monday evening.

Bailey had been arrested for the beating death of Derrion Albert, 16. Since his arrest, Bailey's family has maintained he was not involved in the September 24, 2009 attack that killed Albert.

"I feel blessed by the Lord. Just want to say violence is not the way, Cook County is not the place," said Bailey on Monday evening.

A smiling Eugene Bailey walked out of the Cook County jail on Monday night a free man. As he looked for his family, Bailey was greeted by the media.

"I just want to give a shout out to Derrion's family, his mother and grandmother. Sorry I couldn't attend the funeral. He was a good friend of mine. You all see my family around?" said Bailey.

Bailey went on a mad dash, trying to ditch the swarm of reporters and photographers following him, finally finding a familiar car to jump into.

Eugene Bailey says he was friends with Albert. The Fenger High School senior says he was in class when the fatal fight was going on.

Earlier in court, prosecutors dropped murder charges against Bailey and his mother ran out of the courthouse screaming her thanks.

"Thank you, Jesus!" exclaimed Ava Greyer, Bailey's mother.

Three weeks ago, prosecutors said Bailey had delivered the knockout punch to 16-year-old Derrion Albert in the brawl outside the Agape Community Center.

The state's attorneys office released a written statement: "While the charge against Bailey was brought in good faith based on witness accounts and identifications, additional information has developed during the ongoing investigation that warranted dismissal of the murder charge against Bailey at this time."

"It came soon and I was blessed that it came as quick as it came," said Bailey.

"I kept pushing, kept on pushing," said Ava Greyer, Bailey's mother.

Three other teens remain behind bars, charged with Albert's murder.

On Monday night, Eugene Bailey's mother gave him balloons.

"Thank you, Jesus, thank you Heavenly Father, thank you Father," said Bailey.

Charges were dropped over witness identification. The Cook County state's attorney says originally witnesses identified Bailey on that tape shot on a cell phone but now the witnesses are saying they misidentified Bailey, something his mother has been saying since the day he was arrested.

"Ain't none of these kids on this strip my children. None of them look like Eugene," said Greyer on September 30, while looking at the pictures published in the newspaper taken from a cell phone video.

Greyer said her son was never at the fight where Albert died.

"He was down the street with his brother, at his brother's house, at the time of the beating of Derrion. Also, that's his buddy," said Greyer.

Prosecutors did not go so far as to say Bailey was not there. But they did say witnesses misidentified the 18-year-old on the cell phone video.

"We have about 20 signatures of students that said that he wasn't there," said the Rev. Juan Leon, Bailey's pastor.

When asked how she feels about the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Greyer said, "No comment."

Three other teens -- Silvonus Shannon, Eric Carson and Eugene Riley -- remain in police custody and face murder charges in the attack on Derrion Albert, 16, who was a sophomore at Christian Fenger Academy High School. Their cases were continued until Friday.

The attack -- which shows Albert being beaten with boards and kicked while lying on a sidewalk -- was captured on cell phone video. Albert was a sophomore.

Fenger parents meet with school officials, Daley

While Bailey appeared in court, officials met with parents to discuss how to create a safer passage to and from school for students at Altgeld Gardens. Those students have to travel through several neighborhoods to get to Fenger High School. On Monday, parents met with Chicago Public Schools officials and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to discuss how they can make getting to and from school safer.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling on the school district to provide permanent busing for students who live in Altgeld Gardens and jobs for their parents. He believes those measures would work toward stopping the violence and rebuilding the community.

"The people can be trained, and become carpenters and brick masons and painters, and the union must be our allies in the process," said Rev. Jackson, Rainbow PUSH.

CPS officials said they're open and receptive to establishing parental patrols in the area and paying them for that.

"I was happy and pleased that we have some made some concession as to what route we are going to take in order to resolve some of the tension and the fears that we have as residents with our children that's going to school," said Cheryl Johnson, Altgeld Garden parent.

Some parents of Fenger High School students remain concerned about the option of mid-school year transfers to Carver Military Academy, where there are stricter academic standards. Those transfers would begin at the end of the current semester. Some now want Carver to become a dual school with both a military academy and a traditional high school.

"The rest of the students who might want to attend there... We are investigating whether there are enough to create an entire school. We just heard about that potential option this morning," said Michael Scott, Chicago Board of Education.


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