Man who saw brother’s high-rise death faces prison

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It was a little more than 16 years ago that Derrick Lemon saw his 5-year-old brother tossed from the 14th floor of a Chicago Housing Authority building by two children apparently angry that the boy wouldn’t steal candy for them.

CHICAGO (AP) — It was a little more than 16 years ago that Derrick Lemon saw his 5-year-old brother tossed from the 14th floor of a Chicago Housing Authority building by two children apparently angry that the boy wouldn’t steal candy for them. Since then, Lemon, 24, has had several run-ins with the law, the most serious being the 2006 killing of his aunt’s boyfriend, Illya Glover. Cook County prosecutors want Judge Thomas Hennelly to hand Lemon a lengthy prison sentence for the murder. Defense attorney Wayne Brucar asked the judge Tuesday to take into account the effect that the 1994 high-rise death of Lemon’s brother, Eric Morse, had on his life. Lemon was only 8 years old when he tried to grab Eric before the boy was tossed out of the window of an abandoned CHA high-rise by two boys, ages 10 and 11. Both were later convicted as juveniles and sentenced to the maximum five years in detention. "It had a bad impact," Ronald Watson, Lemon’s stepfather, told the judge. "He had trouble trusting people. Sometimes at night, he would dream and holler." Assistant State’s Attorney Suzi Collins said Lemon has been in trouble with the law several times since his brother was killed. While on probation for a 2004 burglary conviction, Lemon was arrested for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Last July, he was convicted of killing the 40-year-old Glover, who was shot in March 2006 as he tried to stop Lemon from choking his aunt at a family barbecue in Chicago. Collins said that while out on bail as he awaited trial in Glover’s killing last year, Lemon was charged with home invasion and intimidating a witness to the murder. "Derrick Lemon thinks he’s above the law. He thinks he’s the king of the neighborhood," Collins said in court Tuesday. Lemon faces 45 years to life in prison. A fund was established to pay for Lemon’s long-term counseling needs, but his stepfather Watson said he barely got the help he needed. Lemon’s family also was awarded $2.175 million in a settlement with the CHA. Glover’s sister, Gail Glover, said Lemon was their neighbor and they have known him since he was a child. "At the time, I felt real sorry for the family," she said, referring to the death of Lemon’s brother, Eric. "But (Lemon) got all this money and he could have done something to be the person who they said he was in court. Instead he wanted to hang out on the corner." Glover’s family said Lemon of all people should know what it’s like to lose a loved one and shouldn’t have taken theirs. "Why did you do this to my dad?" Glover’s daughter, Crystal, said in a statement Tuesday she was too distraught to read in court. "… You know how it feels to lose a loved one and you still committed this crime." Hennelly says he wants to give "full attention" to the arguments of prosecutors and defense lawyers before sentencing Lemon on April 4. Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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